China moved into second position as an international patent application source filed via the World Intellectual Property Organization in 2017, while two Chinese companies were the top filers, WIPO said Wednesday.
In doing so, China closed in on the long-time leader the United States in another record year in the use of property services for patents, trademarks and industrial designs, WIPO revealed at a UN media conference here.
Two Shenzhen-based Chinese telecoms companies were the top filers of international patent applications in 2017, with Huawei at first place and ZTE at second.
They were followed by Intel, Mitsubishi and Qualcomm, WIPO said.
CREATED IN CHINA
"This rapid rise in Chinese use of the international patent system shows that innovators there are increasingly looking outward, seeking to spread their original ideas into new markets as the Chinese economy continues its rapid transformation," WIPO director general Francis Gurry told journalists.
"This is part of a larger shift in the geography of innovation, with half of all international patent applications now originating in East Asia."
Huawei reclaimed its lead over ZTE, the latter seeing a substantial drop in the number of published PCT filings in 2017.
They were followed by Intel Corporation of the U.S. (2,637), Mitsubishi Electric Corporation of Japan (2,521) and Qualcomm Incorporated of the U.S. (2,163).
The top 10 applicant list comprises seven companies from Asia, two from the United States, and one from Europe.
"China is going from 'Made in China' to 'Created in China,'" said Gurry.
The WIPO chief said Japan posted strong growth in 2017 but was nosed out of the second position by China, which at current trends is projected to overtake the United States within three years as the largest source of applications filed under WIPO's Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).
The WIPO chief noted, "Most attention is focused on the Patent Cooperation Treaty because it is technology, and it is a very good indicator of the relative strengths in the field of technology of the various countries of the world and what is happening in those areas."
He said this is a system that has helped to spread innovation worldwide since it began operations 40 years ago.
In 2017, U.S.-based applicants filed 56,624 PCT applications, followed by applicants from China (48,882) and Japan (48,208).
Germany and the Republic of Korea ranked fourth and fifth, with 18,982 and 15,763 applications, respectively.
Gurry said China and India are the only two middle-income countries among the top 15 origins for PCT applications.
Almost half of all PCT applications filed in 2017 came from Asia (49.1 percent), with Europe (24.9 percent) and North America (24.2 percent) accounting for almost a quarter each.
Among the top 15 origins, China is the only country to have recorded double-digit annual growth of 13.4 percent.
WIPO said China has now posted growth higher than 10 percent every year since 2003.