China led the world in several intellectual property indicators in 2020 according to the World Intellectual Property Indicators Report (WIPI) released by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva on November 8, identifying 'Innovated in China's constant, evident contribution to the development of the global IP system and its leadership role.
The WIPI as a crucial tool to ascertain the global innovation situation, analyzes new data from approximately 150 national and regional authorities, showcasing how innovators, designers and brands increasingly rely on IPRs to safeguard their enterprises and seek new growth.
Strong innovation power
Patent and industrial design filings rebounded and returned to growth in 2020 according to the WIPI. The China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) ranked first in patent applications at 1.5 million, 2.5 times of the amount received by the patent office of the second leading country, the United States (597,172) with Japan, the Republic of Korea and the European Union in the tow. Together, these five offices accounted for 85.1% of the world's total. Patents in force worldwide grew by 5.9% to reach around 15.9 million in 2020 with China saw the fastest growth, reaching 3.1 million.
In addition, nearly 13.4 million trademark applications covering 17.2 million classes were filed worldwide in 2020 according to the WIPI. The number of classes grew by 13.7%, marking an eleventh successive year of growth. China took the lead in the trademark application filings with approximately 9.3 million, followed by the United States, Iran, the European Union and India.
"This illustrates how enterprises around the world have brought new products and services to the market, which can be seen from the double-digit growth in trademark filing activity in 2020 during the massive economic shock. Despite the difficult situation, enterprises are finding opportunities to reach customers in new ways, open up new markets and bring their ideas to the world using IP," said Daren Tang, WIPO's Director General, when speaking of the particularly strong growth of trademark filings in 2020.
In terms of industrial designs, about 1.1 million industrial design applications containing 1.4 million designs were filed worldwide in 2020, representing a 2% year-on-year increase according to the WIPI. Among them, the applications filed by the CNIPA in 2020 included 770,362 designs, accounting for 55.5% of the world's total.
In the meantime, there were about 58,800 protected geographical indications (GIs) in force in 2020 based on the data from 92 national and regional offices. Among them, Germany (14,394) reported the largest number of valid GIs, followed by China (8,476).
The data in the WIPI strongly demonstrate to the world again that China's IPR industry has entered a stage of high-quality development, and China itself is transforming from a big IPR importer to a big innovator, and its IP work is shifting from the pursuit of quantity to the improvement of quality.
International cooperation getting recognized
The year 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the restoration of the lawful seat of the People's Republic of China in the United Nations. After joining the United Nations, China joined the WIPO under the framework of the United Nations in 1980, and has made positive contributions to the IPR's global governance, norm setting and international cooperation as an active builder, contributor and defender of IPR multilateralism. As of date, China has always heeded attention to IPR, which has received unanimous affirmation from all walks of life worldwide.
"China has gained impressive achievements in IPR protection and commercialization," a WIPO's principal said during a media interview. In addition, a reporter from China Media Group also asked Wang Wenbin, spokesperson of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on this topic at the regular press conference held by the Foreign Ministry on November 9. "Such achievements are the fruits of the ingenuity and hard work of the Chinese people and the government's vigorous efforts to advance the IPR strategy and innovation-driven development strategy," Wang emphasized.
The Chinese government recently has issued an outline for building an intellectual property power (2021-2035) that lists the principle of " legal guarantee and strict protection" as the first of the four working principles and has released the 14th Five-Year National Plan for Intellectual Property Protection and Application to clarify four new goals during the 14th Five-Year Plan: bringing IPR protection to a new stage, scoring new achievements in utilization, reaching a new level on services and gaining new breakthroughs in international cooperation. The 14th Five-Year National Plan has deployed several measures on IPR international cooperation. Looking ahead, China will play an active role in IPR global governance by improving the level of international IPR cooperation and opening up its IPR undertaking to the world in a wider scope, in more areas and at a deeper level to better build the new development paradigm, according to Wang.
The WIPI collects and analyzes IPR data to provide information for policy makers, business leaders, investors, scholars, and others who explore macro trends in innovation and creativity. In the future, China will adhere to the path of multilateralism, by further strengthening the cooperation with WIPO, enhancing the development of global IPR undertakings, and promoting the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.