China's intellectual property office led the world last year by reporting 1.5 million patent applications, 2.5 times more than the United States, which ranked second, the World Intellectual Property Organization said on Monday.
According to the 2021 edition of WIPO's World Intellectual Property Indicators, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, international patent applications increased last year after the first drop in a decade in 2019.
Driven by long-term growth in China as well as increased IP activity in other Asian countries, Asia accounted for two-thirds of all applications filed worldwide in 2020. Ten years earlier it accounted for 51.5 percent.
China registered the fastest growth in the number of patents in force last year, followed by Germany, the US and South Korea.
An estimated 13.4 million trademark applications covering 17.2 million classes of goods and services were filed worldwide in 2020. The number of classes grew by 13.7 percent last year, marking the 11th successive year of growth, WIPO said.
China's class count was the highest at around 9.3 million, followed by the US, Iran, the European Union and India.
"WIPO's World Intellectual Property Indicators report confirms that despite the deepest economic contraction in decades, intellectual property filings－a strong indicator of innovation－showed remarkable resilience during the pandemic," said Daren Tang, WIPO's director general.