Posted on Monday 18 December 2017 by Cruickshank Intellectual Property

A new report carried out by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) entitled World Intellectual Property Indicators Report has shown continuous growth and demand for registered intellectual property rights in the form of Patents, Trademarks and Industrial Designs. The report looks at Intellectual Property (IP) activity for 2016 with China the identified driving force behind some record high figures. Here we outline some of the key findings.

Patent Applications reach new heights

Just over 3.1million patent applications were filed worldwide in 2016, experiencing a growth of 8.3% from 2015. China was the largest contributor of this growth receiving 1.3million applications, followed by the US and Japan. Considerable emphasis placed on innovation and technology in China have long played a part in their significant IP growth. The introduction of the ‘National Patent Development Strategy’ (2011-2020) aims to further strengthen their IP protection and enhance a growing innovation sector. Looking at figures from 1995 whereby applications filed in China stood at 18,700 to now 1.3million shows the tremendous growth the country has experienced.

The European Patent Office (EPO) has also seen positive figures for 2016 with a growth of 40%, the fastest since 1983.


Trademark Filings also on the rise.

It is reported that 7million trademark applications were filed worldwide for 2016 with China again credited with high activity. The Chinese Trademark Office accounted for 75% of this annual growth in filings, which was followed by Japan. According to the WIPO report there was an estimated 39.1million active trademark registrations worldwide in 2016 at 136 offices.

The Madrid System which offers protection of a mark through one single application covering a range of countries also saw continued growth in 2016, the fastest since 2010. The US again is the largest user of the system, a position they have held for last three years.


Increase for Industrial Design and Plant Variety Applications.

Industrial Designs had an annual growth of 10.4% in 2016, with 963,100 worldwide application filings. Again, China recorded high growth for this period and accounted for 52% of all worldwide filings with 650,344. The European Union Intellectual Property Offices followed with 104,522 designs.

Plant variety applications saw their biggest increase in over 15years with 16,510 applications filed worldwide in 2016. The Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO) of the European Union continued to remain the top filing office for 2016 where they received 3,299 applications. This was then followed by China and the USA.


The study by WIPO sheds positive light on the world of Intellectual Property. 2016 has seen a year of tremendous growth and demand from those looking to protect their IP. Following their report WIPO Director General Francis Gurry stated:

“The latest figures charting a rise in demand for intellectual property rights confirm a decade-long trend, where developments in China increasingly leave their mark on the worldwide totals.