World Intellectual Property Indicators Report: Record Number of Patent Applications Filed Worldwide in 2022
November 6, 2023
Global patenting activity soared to new records in 2022, fueled by Indian and Chinese innovators, but an uncertain economic outlook is weighing on further growth.
Interactive charts: Barchart
Even as global filings for trademarks and designs dropped, innovators from around the world submitted 3.46 million patent applications in 2022, marking a third consecutive year of growth, according to WIPO’s annual World Intellectual Property Indicators (WIPI) report.
China, the US, Japan, Republic of Korea and Germany were the countries with the highest numbers of patent filings in 2022. While innovators from China continue to file nearly half of all global patent applications, the country’s growth rate dipped for a second consecutive year from 6.8% in 2021 to 3.1% in 2022. Meantime, patent applications by residents of India grew by 31.6% in 2022, extending an 11-year run of growth unmatched by any other country among the top 10 filers.
IP filings have braved the pandemic to continue to grow, powered by increased levels of innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship and digitalization in all parts of the world. Developing countries are increasingly engines of IP, showing the greatest growth rates as they harness the innovation and creative potential of their people. However, uncertainty continues to weigh on the global innovation ecosystem, with venture capital funding dropping in many parts of the world. We urge investors to pursue quality, but not at the expense of supporting good ideas that can change the world for the better.WIPO Director General Daren Tang
Trademark application class counts declined by 14.5% in 2022, following extraordinary growth in 2020 and 2021 when the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated a shift in work and life patterns, spurring the introduction of new goods and services into the marketplace. Similarly, industrial design filing activity recorded a 2.1% decline, following growth over the previous four years .
Continuing a longer-term trend, the bulk of IP filing activity occurs in Asia, from all origins. Asia accounted for 67.9%, 67.8% and 70.3% of global patent, trademarks and industrial designs filing activity in 2022.
An authoritative annual survey of IP activity around the globe.
|IP Right applications||2021||2022||Growth (%), 2021-2022|
|Industrial designs *||1,513,800||1,482,600||–2.1|
Note: * trademark classes specified and designs contained in applications to allow for cross-border comparison, as some countries require individual filings for each class or design, while others allow for multiple classes/designs in a single filing.
The information contained in the WIPI is the result of aggregation by WIPO’s statisticians from the latest data gathered from approximately 150 IP offices globally, enabling the provision of accurate, country-level data for individual countries that file applications in both domestic and foreign jurisdictions.
The WIPI found a substantial rise in patent filings by residents of China and India. These were the main drivers of global growth in 2022.
Applicants based in China filed around 1.58 million patent applications in 2022, covering both domestic and foreign jurisdictions. China was followed by the US (505,539), Japan (405,361), the Republic of Korea (272,315) and Germany (155,896).
China (+3.1%), the Republic of Korea (+1.9%) and the US (+1.1%) filed more applications in 2022 than in 2021. In contrast, Germany (-4.8%) and Japan (-1.6%) filed fewer applications in 2022.
The majority of the top 20 origins – 13 out of 20 – filed a greater number of patent applications in 2022 than in 2021. The largest increases were in India, which filed 31.6% more application in 2022. Switzerland (+6.1%), China (+3.1%), Austria (+2.5%) and the UK (+2.5%) also reported robust growth in filings.
A considerable increase in resident filings was the principal driver of overall growth for China and India, while strong growth in filings abroad was behind overall growth for Austria, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
In 2021 – the latest year for which complete data are available owing to the delay between application and publication – computer technology emerged as the most frequently featured technology in published patent applications worldwide, accounting for 11.1% of the world total. It was followed by electrical machinery (6.4%), measurement (5.8%), medical technology (5.2%) and digital communication (4.9%). Among the top 15 fields of technology, chemical engineering (+11.4%), computer technology (+11%) and IT methods for management (+13.7%) are the three fields to have witnessed double-digit growth between 2011 and 2021.
An estimated 11.8 million trademark applications covering 15.5 million classes were filed worldwide in 2022. The number of classes specified in applications fell by 14.5% in 2022, marking the first annual reduction in application class count since 2009. The long-term trend in trademark filing is still positive, despite having been distorted by the pandemic.
The highest volume of filing activity came from applicants based in China with a combined domestic and abroad application class count of around 7.7 million; followed by US applicants (945,571), those based in Türkiye (482,567), and applicants from Germany (479,334) and India (467,918).
Contributing to the global decrease, filing from 14 of the top 20 countries of origin fell in 2022, many of which by more than 10%. Despite being the top origin of applications, filing by residents of China at both home and abroad shrank by almost 21%. Also, among the top five origins, filing emanating from Germany (-14.2%) and the US (-8.9%) likewise saw considerable declines.
In contrast to the decreases recorded by most top 20 countries of origin, trademark filing grew for six of these. Three recorded double-digit growth in 2022, ranging from 11.8% for filing from the Russian Federation to 13.2% for that from Türkiye and 16.3% for filing originating in Indonesia. In the case of Türkiye, growth was driven in similar shares by domestic and abroad filing. However, the high growth rates for applications from Indonesia and the Russian Federation were solely due to large increases in domestic filing that more than offset considerable declines in filing abroad. Similar to Türkiye, growth in both domestic and abroad filing contributed to overall growth for applications filed by residents of Brazil, India and Viet Nam.
Asia dominated the global trademark filing landscape, constituting 67.8% of the total, a sizeable increase from its 47.7% share a decade earlier in 2012. This trend contributed to a decline in the overall shares of the other five geographical regions over the same period. Europe accounted for 16.2% of the world total in 2022, followed by the Latin America and the Caribbean region at 6.8% and the North American at 5.9%. The remaining shares were distributed between Africa (1.8%) and Oceania (1.3%).
The research and technology sector attracted the largest filing volumes by applicants seeking trademark protection abroad in 2022, constituting 22% of global reported non-resident trademark filing. It was followed by the health (13%), clothing and accessories (11.9%) and leisure and education (10.9%) sectors. Trademarks relating to business services (10.5%), agriculture (9%) and household equipment (8%) accounted for the next largest shares of the total. In contrast, industries linked to chemicals (3.1%), construction (5.5%) and transportation (6.2%) received the smallest proportions of filing abroad.
There were an estimated 82.5 million active trademark registrations across 152 IP offices globally, representing an increase of 9.4% compared to 2021. Once again, China had by far the highest number of trademark registrations in force in 2022, with a total of almost 42.7 million. It was followed by the US, with 3.1 million registrations in force and India’s nearly 2.9 million.
In 2022, an estimated 1.1 million industrial design applications were filed worldwide. These applications contained about 1.5 million designs, corresponding to a decrease of 2.1% on 2021.
With 841,164 designs in applications filed, applicants residing in China were the most active in the world in terms of design count in 2022. They were followed by applicants from Türkiye (80,559), Germany (70,346), the U.S. (67,349) and the Republic of Korea (62,014). Together, these top five countries accounted for three-quarter (75.6%) of the global activity in 2022. Driven mainly by a rapid increase in filings by applicants from China, the combined share of the top five origins has grown by 4.6 percentage points over the last decade.
Among the top 20 origins, only five saw a rise in design count in 2022. Türkiye (+31.4%) experienced the sharpest growth propelling it three positions higher in the global ranking within a year. Türkiye was followed by Brazil (+11.3%), India (+9.5%), Italy (+7.1%) and Switzerland (+3.6%). Among origins located in low- and middle-income economies beyond the top 20 origins, annual growth rates in 2022 were especially high in Bulgaria (+69%), Morocco (+28.4%) and Indonesia (+20.4%).
Asia accounted for 70.3% of all designs in applications filed worldwide in 2022. Asia was followed by Europe (22.4%) and North America (4.4%). The combined share for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and Oceania was 2.9% in 2022, down from 3.4% a decade ago. Over that same period, from 2012 to 2022, North America (+5.5%) and Asia (+2.1%) were the two regions to observe the most substantial average increase in design count.
In 2022, there were about 5.8 million active industrial design registrations worldwide. This represents an increase of 8.8% on 2021. Registrations in force in China grew by 9.7%, reaching 2.8 million and contributing to nearly half (49%) of the global total in 2022. China was followed by the Republic of Korea (406,009), the US (389,540), the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) (296,912) and Japan (270,073).
In 2022, the sectors with the biggest shares of the world total were furniture and household goods (17.2%), textiles and accessories (15.6%), tools and machines (12.4%), and electricity and lighting (9.1%). Combined, these four sectors accounted for a majority (54.3%) of all classes recorded globally.
Around 27,260 plant variety applications were filed worldwide in 2022, up +8.2% on 2021 and is seventh consecutive year of growth. Applicants from China were the most active in 2022, filing 12,357 plant variety applications, corresponding to 45.3% of the world total. China-based applicants were followed by applicants from the Kingdom of the Netherlands (2,874), the US (2,120), the UK (1,657), and France (1,167).
Among the top five origins, China (+16.9%), the UK (+377.5%) and France (+9.9%) saw strong growth in filings between 2021 and 2022, while the Kingdom of the Netherlands (–10.6%) and the US (–23.6%) received considerably fewer applications over the same period.
Data from the 91 national and regional authorities show there are an estimated 58,400 protected geographical indications (GIs) in existence in 2022. GIs are signs used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin, such as Gruyère for cheese or Tequila for spirits.
In 2022, China (9,571) had the most GIs in force within its territory, followed by Hungary (7,843), Germany (7,386) and the Czech Republic (6,383). The high rankings achieved by EU countries is explained by the fact that the 5,176 GIs in force throughout the EU regional system are in force in every member state.
GIs in force relating to wines and spirits (50.7%) accounted for half of the 2022 global total, while agricultural products and foodstuffs accounted for 43.1% and handicrafts 4.2% of the total.
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