March 2019 | No. 03/2019


PCT Filings in 2018

In 2018, use of the PCT continued to grow, with a record‑breaking quarter of a million PCT applications filed.  The estimated 253,0001 applications represents a 3.9% increase over 2017.  For the first time, Asia‑based applicants filed more than half (50.5%) of all PCT applications, helped by significant growth from China, the Republic of Korea and India.  Applicants from Europe filed 24.5% of all applications, and those from North America filed 23.1%. 

Applicants based in the United States of America (U.S.) maintained their number one ranking, with 56,142 applications filed, accounting for 22.2% of the total filed in 2018.  The U.S. was followed very closely by China (53,345 applications), ranking second for the second year running with 21.1% of all filings.  As was the case in 2017, the third, fourth and fifth rankings were held by Japan (49,702), Germany (19,883) and the Republic of Korea (17,014).

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 56,142 22.2%
2. China 53,345 21.1%
3. Japan  49,702 19.6%
4. Germany 19,883 7.9%
5. Republic of Korea 17,014    6.7%
6. France 7,914   3.1%
7. United Kingdom 5,641 2.2%
8. Switzerland 4,568   1.8%
9. Sweden    4,162    1.6%
10. Netherlands    4,138 1.6%

Among the top 15 origins, India (+27.2%) and Finland (+14.7%) were the only two countries to record double-digit annual growth in 2018.  China (+9.1%) and the Republic of Korea (+8%) both saw strong growth, although China’s rate was its lowest since 2002.  The United Kingdom recorded a 1.3% increase in filings, representing five uninterrupted years of growth.  In contrast, the Netherlands (-6.6%), France (-1.2%) and the U.S. (-0.9%) each saw a decrease in filings.

For information on the number of filings from all countries, as well as a comparison with filings in 2017, see Annex 1 of WIPO Press Release PR/2019/830 at:


Chinese telecommunications company, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd was the top PCT filer for the second year running, with 5,405 applications published in 2018.  It was followed by Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (Japan), Intel Corporation (U.S.), Qualcomm Incorporated (U.S.), and ZTE Corporation (China).  The top ten applicants are listed below, with the number of PCT applications that were published in their names in 2018:

1. Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd (CN)   5,405
2. Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (JP) 2,812
3. Intel Corporation (US) 2,499
4. Qualcomm Incorporated (US) 2,404
5. ZTE Corporation (CN) 2,080
6. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd (KR) 1,997
7.  BOE Technology Group Co., Ltd (CN) 1,813
8. LG Electronics Inc. (KR) 1,697
9. Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson (Publ) (SE)    1,645
10. Robert Bosch Corporation (DE) 1,524

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 with 501 published applications.  The top 10 consists of five U.S. institutions and five Asian institutions – Chinese universities appear in the top 10 list for the first time.  More detailed information on filings by educational institutions is available in the press release (Annex 3).

As far as PCT filings by field of technology are concerned, digital communication (8.6% of the total) overtook computer technology (8.1%) with the largest share of published PCT applications.  They were followed by electrical machinery, apparatus, energy (7%), medical technology (6.7%) and transport (4.6%).  Among the top 10 technologies, transport (+11.3%), digital communication (+10.1%) and semiconductors (+9.8%) were the fields with the highest rates of growth in 2018.  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 2018 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 filing figures which follow, are provisional because not all PCT applications that were filed with national and regional Offices in 2018 have been received at the International Bureau, and the final figures will only be available later in the year.
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