China has become the first country to file one million patent applications in a single year, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) said on Wednesday.
According to Reuters, Chinese innovators filed most of their 2015 applications in electrical engineering, which includes telecoms, followed by computer technology and semiconductors, and measurement instruments, including medical technology. The bulk of China’s 1.01 million applications, according to WIPO director-general Francis Gurry, were for domestic protection in patents, trademarks and industrial design, from both residents in China and innovators abroad, with only some 42,154 filed abroad from innovators based in China.
The United States ranked second last year with 526,296 patent applications, followed by Japan at 454,285 and South Korea with 238,015.
We’ve been following China’s ascent up the innovation ladder for years now, and it’s not surprising to see WIPO release these staggering numbers. Of course, there are other factors that could impact China’s IP dominance.
The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) seems destined to dissolve, as President-elect Donald Trump seems intent on pulling the US out of that pact. That could carry implications across the entire international innovation spectrum. What lies ahead is anyone’s guess, but in the present, it’s clear that China is quickly becoming an innovation superpower.