Global trends in intellectual property

By Max Jones
Intellectual Property Patents & Trade Marks

In brief 3 min read

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has recently published two reports identifying key hotspots for innovation, and key markets for patent, trade mark and design filing.

Key takeaways

  • Scientific and technological innovation has become increasingly concentrated in metropolitan hotspots, while also becoming more collaborative.
  • Intellectual property filing activity continues to grow in Asia (particularly China), which accounts for the majority of applications globally.
  • Australia has a far greater proportion than the global average of non-residents filing intellectual property applications.

WIPO's reports

WIPO has released two reports on current trends in intellectual property. The first, 'The Geography of Innovation: Local Hotspots, Global Networks', provides an empirical analysis of the geographical trends in innovation. The second, the 'World Intellectual Property Indicators 2019', provides WIPO's statistics for last year's filings for patents, trade marks and industrial designs globally. We set out some of the key findings below. 

The geography of innovation

Based on empirical data, WIPO has found that:

  • metropolitan hotspots account for the majority of innovation activity, with 30 hotspots alone producing 69% of patent filings and 48% of scientific papers between 2015 and 2017;
  • policies of openness and collaboration have enabled innovation to become more collaborative, with more scientists and inventors operating in teams and transnationally; and
  • companies from middle-income economies are sourcing their innovation from the hotspots in high-income economies.

Businesses should consider how these insights impact their global and regional operations; and what benefits can be gained, in terms of efficiency and connectedness, by having a presence in innovation hotspots.

Intellectual property indicators

Globally, the number of applications has grown substantially for patents, trade marks, industrial designs and plant varieties.

Specifically, for the first time, Asia accounted for more than two thirds of patents, trade marks and industrial designs filed, with China receiving the most applications in each category.

Meanwhile, the US maintained the highest number of patent applications filed in export markets.

The findings suggest that these jurisdictions are key markets for innovation.