March 2017 | No. 03/2017


PCT Filings in 2016

In 2016, the use of the PCT continued to grow, with approximately 233,000 PCT applications filed1.  This represents a 7.3% increase over 2015. 

Applicants based in the United States of America maintained their number one ranking for the 39th year running, accounting for about a quarter (24.3%) of the 233,000 applications filed under the PCT in 2016, followed by applicants in Japan (19.4%) and China (18.5%), with the latter driving the overall growth in demand. Digital communications and computer technology showed the greatest activity by sector.

The total for each country in the top 10, followed by that country’s percentage share of all filings, were as follows:

1.  United States of America             56,595                        24.3%

2.  Japan                                          45,239                        19.4%

3.  China                                           43,168                        18.5%

4.  Germany                                      18,315                          7.9%

5.  Republic of Korea                        15,560                          6.7%

6.  France                                           8,208                          3.5%

7.  United Kingdom                              5,496                          2.4%

8.  Netherlands                                    4,679                          2.0%

9.  Switzerland                                     4,365                          1.9%

10. Sweden                                          3,720                          1.6%

For information on the number of filings from other countries, as well as a comparison with filings in 2015, see Annex 1 of WIPO Press Release PR/2017/804 at:


ZTE Corporation (CN) became the top PCT user with 4,123 PCT applications published in 2016, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. (CN) was second with 3,692, followed by Qualcomm Incorporated (US) with 2,466. 

The top ten applicants are listed below, with the number of PCT applications that were published in their names in 2016:

1.  ZTE Corporation (CN)                                                  4,123

2.  Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd (CN)                               3,692

3.  Qualcomm Incorporated (US)                                       2,466

4.  Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (JP)                              2,053

5.  LG Electronics Inc. (KR)                                               1,888

6.  Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. (US)       1,742

7.  Intel Corporation (US)                                                    1,692

8.  BOE Technology Group Co., Ltd (CN)                            1,673

9.  Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd (KR)                                1,672                  

10. Sony Corporation (JP)                                                   1,665

A list of the top 50 PCT applicants has been published in the press release (Annex 2).  As far as filings by educational institutions are concerned, the University of California maintained its position held since 1993 as the largest user of the PCT System.  While the top 10 is dominated by U.S.-based institutions, the top 20 list consists of 10 U.S. and 10 Asian universities.  Information on filings by educational institutions is also available in the press release (Annex 3).

As far as PCT filings by field of technology are concerned, digital communication accounted for the largest share of PCT applications with 8.5% of the total, followed closely by computer technology with 8.2% published PCT applications, and then by electrical machinery, apparatus and energy (6.9%) and medical technology (6.8%).  Detailed information regarding the distribution of fields of technology of published applications can be found in the press release (Annex 4).

The publication of the final figures for 2016 filings (in the form of the Yearly Review of the PCT) will be announced in the PCT Newsletter later in the year.         

  1. It is important to note that this total, as well as the figures which follow, are provisional, due to the fact that not all PCT applications that were filed with national and regional Offices in 2016 have been received at the International Bureau, and the final figures will only be available later in the year.


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