A couple of months back, WIPO released its annual World Intellectual Property Indicators (WIPI) report, 2021, which depicts Intellectual Property (IP) activities worldwide in 2020. Some exciting findings in this report provide insights into global economic activities and trends.

The WIPI report illustrates the resilience of human innovation despite the current global pandemic. Irrespective of the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 and the most profound economic contraction in decades, IP filings globally have experienced an increase. It included the filing of 3.3 million patent applications, 17.2 million trademark applications, 3 million utility models, 1.4 million industrial designs, which is an increase of 1.6%, 14%, 28%, and 2%, respectively.[1]

Who leads?

The IP filings in the Asian countries were much higher than in other world regions, with more than 69% of the filings. It included 71% of all industrial designs, 67% of all patents, 98% of all utility models, and 72% of the trademark's global filings[2].

It is hardly news anymore to see that China tops the list in IP filings. China has made it up to the top because of its trade value and innovations, including China's vastness. Moreover, China promotes the development of IP as part of their national strategy, which began in the year 2008 when they announced the "Outline of the National IP Strategy." The National IP strategy stated that "the quantity of IP will be greater. China will rank among the world's advanced countries regarding the annual number of patents for inventions granted to domestic applicants. In contrast, the number of overseas patent applications filed by Chinese applicants should greatly increase"[3].

Additionally, by the end of 2020, China had around 53,090 IP professionals who held the patent agent's qualification certificate in mainland China. However, in the European Union (EU), there are 12,703 total IP professionals in 2021. Therefore, with these many IP service providers, China has resulted in low-priced IP services that are pretty accessible for the price-sensitive group around the country. Although, this model of development is entirely unsustainable as it may lead to suboptimal-quality inventions or roughly written patent applications.

Israel ranked at 15th rank for filing patent applicants in the report, and if compared on a per capita basis, Israel is one of the top global patent application filers. Also, the GIPI report shows that IP activity is shifting to Asian countries, specifically China.

[1] World intellectual property indicators report: Worldwide trademark filings resilient despite COVID-19. IP Helpdesk. (2021, November 12). Retrieved February 9, 2022, from https://intellectual-property-helpdesk.ec.europa.eu/news-events/news/world-intellectual-property-indicators-report-worldwide-trademark-filings-resilient-despite-covid-19-2021-11-12_en

[2] Cohn, I. (2022, February 7). World intellectual property indicators 2021 – key findings - intellectual property - worldwide. Mondaq. Retrieved February 9, 2022, from https://www.mondaq.com/trademark/1154594/world-intellectual-property-indicators-2021-key-findings

[3] Lu, T. (2021, November 29). The annual World Intellectual Property Indicators Report (WIPI) and China's IP Boom. The IPKat. Retrieved February 9, 2022, from https://ipkitten.blogspot.com/2021/11/the-annual-world-intellectual-property.html

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