The 2017 edition of WIPO’s World Intellectual Property indicators

The 2017 edition of WIPO’s World Intellectual Property indicators shaped the global IP system in 2016.


China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) received the highest number of patent applications in 2016, a record total of 1.3 million. It was followed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) (605,571), the Japan Patent Office (JPO) (318,381), the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) (208,830) and the European Patent Office (EPO) (159,358).

The top five offices accounted for 84% of the world total. Among the top five offices, China (+21.5%) and the U.S. (+2.7%) saw growth in filings, while the EPO (-0.4%), Japan (-0.1%) and the Republic of Korea (-2.3%) received fewer applications in 2016 than in 2015.

In filing abroad, U.S. residents continue to lead. Residents of the U.S. filed more than four times as many patent applications abroad (215,918) as Chinese residents (51,522). The U.S. was followed by Japan (191,819), Germany (75,378) and the Republic of Korea (69,945).

The WIPI includes data on the rate of women’s participation in resident patent applications at national/regional offices, using a name-recognition technology developed by WIPO. It shows comparatively high rates in the Russian Federation (38.7% of resident patent applications containing at least one woman), Mexico (36.4%), the U.S. (27.5%), Spain (24.6%) and Brazil (24.5%). These countries have a high share of total filings relating to life sciences such as biology, which show higher rates of woman participation than other branches of science and technology.


An estimated 7 million trademark applications covering 9.77 million classes were filed worldwide in 2016, 16.4% more applications than in 2015, marking the seventh consecutive year of growth.

The office of China had the highest volume of filing activity with a class count of around 3.7 million, followed by the U.S. (545,587), Japan (451,320), the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) (369,970) and India (313,623). Among the top five offices, China (+30.8%), Japan (+30.8%) and India (+8.3%) reported solid annual growth. Other offices among the top 20 with strong growth were the Russian Federation (+14.8%), the U.K. (+19.1%) and Viet Nam (+21.1%).

Trademarks associated with advertising and business management accounted for 10.5% of all global trademark filing activity in 2016, followed by computers, software and instruments (6.9%), education and entertainment (5.8%) and clothing (5.7%).

There were an estimated 39.1 million active trademark registrations worldwide, of which 12.4 million were active in China alone, followed by the 2.1 million in the U.S., 1.9 million in Japan, 1.3 million in India and 1.1 million in Mexico.

Industrial designs

Global industrial design filing activity in 2016 grew by 10.4% to an estimated 963,100 applications containing 1.2 million designs. Design counts worldwide grew by 8.3%, driven primarily by strong growth in China.

The office of China received applications containing 650,344 designs in 2016, corresponding to 52% of the world total. It was followed by the EUIPO (104,522), the KIPO (69,120), Germany (56,188) and Turkey (46,305). Among the top 20 offices, the fastest growth in design counts occurred in the Islamic Republic of Iran (+34.8%), followed by Ukraine (+17.4%), China (+14.3%) and the U.S. (+12.1%).

Designs related to furnishings accounted for 10.8% of all filings, followed by those related to clothing (8.6%) and to packages and containers (7.3%).

The total number of industrial designs in force worldwide grew by 6% to reach 3.6 million. Around 1.36 million were in force in China, followed by the Republic of Korea (338,234), the U.S. (307,018), Japan (250,819) and the EUIPO (194,781).

Source: WIPO