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International Relations

China at Top in Global Patent Race

  • 08 Apr 2020
  • 3 min read

Why in News

Recently, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has highlighted that China has become the biggest source of applications for international patents in the world.

Key Points

  • China has pushed the United States from the top position which it has held since the global system was set up more than 40 years ago.
    • The U.S. had filed the most applications in the world every year since the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) system was set up in 1978.
  • China filed 58,990 applications beating the 57,840 applications filed by the U.S.
    • China’s figure was a 200-fold increase in just 20 years.
    • China’s success can be attributed to the deliberate strategy of advancing innovations and to make the country’s economy operate at a higher level of value.
  • In the current times, more than half of patent applications, almost 52.4%, come from Asia.
  • Japan is on the third rank followed by Germany and South Korea.

World Intellectual Property Organization

  • It is the global forum for intellectual property (IP) services, policy, information and cooperation.
  • It is a self-funding agency of the United Nations, with 193 member states.
  • Mission: To lead the development of a balanced and effective international IP system that enables innovation and creativity for the benefit of all.
  • Its mandate, governing bodies and procedures are set out in the WIPO Convention, which established WIPO in 1967.
  • It is headquartered at Geneva, Switzerland.

Patent Cooperation Treaty

  • It is an international treaty with more than 150 Contracting States.
  • It makes it possible to seek patent protection for an invention simultaneously in each of a large number of countries by filing an international patent application.
    • Such an application may be filed by anyone who is a national or resident of a PCT Contracting State.
    • It may generally be filed with the national patent office of the Contracting State or at the applicant's option, with the International Bureau of WIPO in Geneva.
    • The granting of patents remains under the control of the national or regional patent Offices in what is called the national phase.
  • PCT is used by:
    • World’s major corporations, research institutions and universities when they seek international patent protection.
    • Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and individual inventors.
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