Global demand for intellectual property (IP) tools hit new record in 2017, with China leading the growth in filings at the heart of the global economy, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) said Monday.
WIPO Director General Francis Gurry said at a press conference at the UN that the applications include those for patents, trademarks, industrial designs and other IP rights.
Across the globe, innovators filed 3.17 million patent applications in 2017, up 5.8 percent on 2016 figures and representing an eighth straight yearly increase, according to WIPO's annual World Intellectual Property Indicators (WIPI) report.
"Demand for IP protection is rising faster than the rate of global economic growth, illustrating that IP-backed innovation is an increasingly critical component of competition and commercial activity," said Gurry.
"In just a few decades, China has constructed an IP system, encouraged homegrown innovation, joined the ranks of the world's IP leaders -- and is now driving worldwide growth in IP filings," he added.
China recorded the highest application volume for each IP right as innovators and creators inside the country, as well as foreign entities, seek to protect and promote their work in one of the world's fastest growing major economies, the report said.
The number of trademark applications, which WIPO officials said has been used as an indicator of projected global economic activity, grew by a "stunning" 30 percent totaling 12.39 million, while the number of industrial design applications reached 1.24 million.
The number of China's trademark applications increased by about 55 percent, representing 46 percent of all trademark applications filed worldwide.
An estimated 9.11 million trademark applications covering 12.39 million classes were filed worldwide in 2017, marking the eighth straight year of growth.
The IP office of China had the highest volume of filing activity with a class count of around 5.7 million, followed by the U.S. (613,921), Japan (560,269), the European Union Intellectual Property Office (371,508), and Iran (358,353).
China's IP office also received the highest number of patent applications in 2017, a record total of 1.38 million. Trailing China's IP office were the IP offices of the United States (606,956), Japan (318,479), South Korea (204,775), and the European Patent Office (166,585).