Chinese international patent applications more than doubled in 2006, reflecting a "changing geography of demand" along with other Asian countries such as Japan and South Korea, the World Intellectual Property Organisation said on Feb. 7.
China filed 3,910 patents under the aegis of WIPO's Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) in 2006, up 56.8% from the previous year and comprising 2.7% of total applications.
South Korea's filings were up 26.6% at 5,935, while Japan saw its applications climb 8.3% to 26,906.
The U.S. remains by far the biggest filer of patents in volume terms. Its 49,555 international filings in 2006, up 6.1% from the previous year, gave it a global market share of 34.1%, WIPO said.
"The number of international patent applications continues to rise with impressive growth from north east Asian countries. Increasingly developing country economies are capitalizing on the tools of the intellectual property system for wealth creation," said WIPO deputy director general Francis Gurry. Forty-eight percent of all international patent applications now go through the PCT system, he said.
By industry sector, the greatest number of PCT applications in 2006 was in telecommunications (10.5%), pharmaceuticals (10.4%) and information technology (10.4%), WIPO said. The fastest growing technology areas were semiconductors with a 28% increase, information technology at 22%, and pharmaceuticals at 21%.
Patents protect the design or idea for new products or production processes for 20 years.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007