tm logo

World Intellectual Property Indicators Report: A Breakthrough in Global IP Filings

Lindokuhle Mkhize

Lindokuhle Mkhize

22 November 20235 min read

share this blog

World Intellectual Property Indicators Report: A Breakthrough in Global IP Filings

Table of contents

    According to the WIPO's World Intellectual Property Indicators (WIPI) report, the COVID-19 pandemic did not dampen innovation. IP filings remained strong and even soared in 2022. This article explores the World Intellectual Property Indicators Report, highlighting the rise in IP filings during the pandemic, particularly in Asia. We'll also discuss the increasing influence of India in the pharmaceutical sector and China's dominance in blockchain patents. 

    Aligning these trends with recent statements like those of the US Patent and Trademark Office, we delve into the importance of understanding these patterns for individuals and organizations to protect their innovation investments. Despite global challenges, the continued growth in IP filings signifies a promising future underpinned by human creativity and innovation.

    Even as global filings for trademarks and designs dropped, innovators worldwide submitted 3.46 million patent applications in 2022, marking a third consecutive year of growth, according to the WIPO's annual World Intellectual Property Indicators (WIPI) report.

    Innovators worldwide filed 3.4 million patent applications in 2021, the highest annual total ever recorded. Globally, patent applications have increased from 1 million in 1995 to 2 million in 2010 and 3 million in 2016. This is a 3.6% increase from the previous year. Asian offices accounted for 67.6% of all patent applications, with notable growth in local filings from China (+5.5%), the Republic of Korea (+2.5%), and India (+5.5%), contributing to the global surge.

    Trends in intellectual property filings: Patents, trademarks, industrial designs, and the rise of blockchain technology

    The information in the WIPI report is a product of meticulous aggregation by the WIPO's statisticians. Analyzing data gathered from approximately 150 IP offices globally, the report provides accurate, country-level data. It offers an invaluable look at individual countries that file their IP applications in domestic and foreign jurisdictions. 

    This robust aggregation of information delivers valuable insights into the current state of global IP filings, serving as a key resource for policymakers, business leaders, researchers, and anyone interested in the world of innovation.

    Here, we have further dissected this comprehensive report, focusing on the critical aspects of IP filings - patents, trademarks, industrial designs, plant variety, and a new entrant that has been making waves - blockchain technology. Let the data below tell you how these different facets of intellectual Property are forming the course of our future.

    Graph of growth statistics in the respective industries, according to the WIPO.

    IP filings statistics

    Note: * trademark classes specified and designs contained in applications to allow for cross-border comparison, as some countries require individual filings for each class or design, while others allow for multiple classes/designs in a single filing.

    Please note that the growth for Blockchain Technology is reported as a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) for the period from 2022 to 2030. The Blockchain Technology market size is represented in USD (e.g., USD 5.7 billion is written as 5,700,000,000). Also, asterisks (*) indicate the negative growth trend from 2021 to 2022.

    Asia's patent filing dominance:

    Trademark filing activity also saw significant growth, with 18.1 million class counts in 2021, a 5.5% increase from 2020. This rise in registering new brands aligned with a boom in entrepreneurial activity and venture capital deals triggered by the pandemic disruptions. 

    Additionally, industrial design filing activity experienced a notable increase of 9.2%, with Asia leading the growth.

    India's patents in the pharma sector:

    One notable aspect highlighted in the World Intellectual Property Indicators Report for 2022 is India's presence in the pharmaceutical sector. India has been a major global pharmaceutical industry player known for its generic drug manufacturing capabilities. 

    Lupin is the third-largest pharmaceutical player in the US by prescriptions (IQVIA MAT, March 2020). Lupin entered the US generic pharmaceuticals market in 2003 with ANDA approval for Cefuroxime Axetil tablets. We have since received more than 250 FDA approvals and now market a total of 180 generic products. However, the report sheds light on an exciting development – an increase in patent applications from India in the pharmaceutical domain.

    Globally, pharmaceutical-related patents grew by 2.7% from 2009; however, almost 18% of the total registered patent applications were made from India in 2017. India has been ranked ninth in patents, sixth in trademarks, and thirteenth in designs, considering both residential and abroad IP filings in 2020. 

    WIPO Director General Daren Tang stated, "The latest WIPI data show continued and sustained growth in IP filings, driven largely by increases from Asia, with other regions also trending mostly upward. IP filing strength during the pandemic showed that people worldwide continued to innovate and create despite the economic and social disruptions caused by the pandemic. This resilience should not be taken for granted. 

    Another economic downturn is looming, and geopolitical tensions have increased. However, the challenges facing us right now, such as climate change and the achievement of the UN SDGs, means that we have to continue supporting innovators and creators to use the IP system to bring their ideas to reality and create the impact that will change our lives for the better."

    Surge in patent filings related to blockchain technology

    Blockchain technology is a type of distributed ledger technology that allows data to be stored globally on thousands of servers. While some people may associate it primarily with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, it extends far beyond that.

    In the context of the intellectual property world, blockchain could be game-changing. It might be employed in the IP registration system, allowing for quicker and more efficient registration, monitoring, and enforcement of IP rights. It could also be used to trace the use of IP rights transparently and securely. 

    The World Intellectual Property Indicators report highlighted that the number of blockchain patents has been steadily increasing, with China leading the charge. This indicates an increased interest in this technology and its potential applications across various industries and domains.

    China continues to lead the world in the number of granted blockchain patents, with a staggering 9,482 patents granted. This accounts for nearly 68% of all blockchain patents granted worldwide, highlighting China's dominance in blockchain technology.

    According to a report by Coincub, it's projected that the number of granted blockchain patents worldwide in 2023 will reach a record high of over 5,000, contributing to nearly 14,000 patents granted for that year. However, it is essential to note that there has been a significant 70% drop in patent filings in 2023 compared to the previous year. This decline can be attributed to the typical duration of 1 to 3 years for a patent filing to be granted.

    "Social tracking is part of the trifecta of Industry 4.0, the future of finance and social scoring," said Sergiu Hamza, referring to the simultaneous advance of AI, blockchain, machine learning, and cloud technology, in an interview for Decrypt.

    The Chinese government's claims this a supportive stance towards blockchain technology and the country's robust tech industry has undoubtedly contributed to this high number.

    Impact of industrial designs:

    The year 2022 witnessed a significant increase in industrial design applications, with a sharp growth rate of 9.2% compared to 2020. Approximately 1.2 million applications were filed worldwide, a 6.8% increase from the previous year. The growth in industrial design applications has been consistent since 2007, except for a slight decline in 2014. The substantial application increase is primarily attributed to China, which has experienced rapid growth in this field.

    Harmonizing data from different offices, it is estimated that around 1.5 million designs were contained in applications filed globally in 2021, demonstrating a growth rate of 9.2% - the highest since 2013. Resident applications contributed a 5.6% increase, mainly driven by China, India, Türkiye, and the United Kingdom (UK). 

    Empowering innovation and global growth

    The World Intellectual Property Indicators Report for 2022 presents a clear picture of the global intellectual property landscape. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, innovation and IP filings remained strong and experienced significant growth in certain regions.

    This report presents a hopeful view that innovation continues undeterred despite the extraordinary challenges we're currently facing – be it health crises like the COVID-19 pandemic, profound economic shifts, or the existential threat of climate change. This bodes well for achieving sustainable development goals and creating a better future for all.

    Speaking of timely relevance, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently released a statement emphasizing the importance of intellectual property protection for fostering innovation. The USPTO underscored the role of intellectual property rights in encouraging inventors, artists, and entrepreneurs to continue working towards groundbreaking innovations. 

    The USPTO's statement is a welcome addition to the WIPO report's findings, fortifying the significance of intellectual property rights in stimulating creativity and economic growth.

    In light of the World Intellectual Property Indicators Report, this quote by Kathi Vidal strikes a profound chord. Vidal's assertion, "America is a land of inventors, creators, and entrepreneurs. We will lead the way in innovation by unleashing the potential of every individual to invent, create, or launch a new business," encapsulates the essence of the dynamic intellectual property landscape outlined in the report. 

    share this blog

    Lindokuhle Mkhize, a skilled creative copywriter and content lead at Trademarkia, brings a wealth of experience in driving innovation and managing teams. With previous success in starting and growing the Innovation and Marketing department at her former creative agency, Lindokuhle boasts expertise in leadership and delivering compelling content. Based in South Africa, Lindokuhle's work focuses on key themes of creativity, effective communication, and strategic marketing.