china in 2019 surpassed the united states of america (u.s.) as the top source of international patent applications filed with wipo amid another year of robust growth for the organization’s international intellectual property (ip) services, treaty-adherence activity and revenue base.
with 58,990 applications filed in 2019 via wipo’s patent cooperation treaty (pct) system, china ended the u.s. (57,840 applications in 2019) reign as the biggest user of the pct system that helps incentivize and spread innovation – a position previously held by the u.s. each year since the pct began operations in 1978.
“china’s rapid growth to become the top filer of international patent applications via wipo underlines a long-term shift in the locus of innovation towards the east, with asia-based applicants now accounting for more than half of all pct applications,” said wipo director general francis gurry. in 1999, wipo received 276 applications from china. by 2019, that number rose to 58,990 – a 200-fold increase in only twenty years, mr. gurry noted.