55% of U.S. Patent Filings are Non-Resident, Around 10% of China’s; Foreign TM Filings are Less than 3% in China

Non-resident patent applicants accounted for 90% of the patent applications received by the IP office of Australia in 2020, but only 10% of the applications received by the IP office of China.

It appears that China in that year filed 45 times as many trademarks as the U.S.

These are among the data points provided by World Intellectual Property Organizations’ in its annual World Intellectual Property Indicators Report (WIPIR).  WIPIR draws on statistics from 150 national and regional IP offices and WIPO, as well as survey data and industry sources.

  • Patent and trademark offices located in Asia received two-thirds (66.6%) of all patent applications filed worldwide in 2020 – a considerable increase from 51.5% in 2010.

Following a 9.2% decline in filings in 2019, China’s office returned to growth in 2020, recording a 6.9% increase in applications which came almost entirely from resident filings. Despite most businesses attraction to China as a market, it is unclear why there are so few foreign applications there.

Offices located in North America accounted for almost one-fifth (19.3%) of the world total, while those in Europe accounted for just over one-tenth (10.9%).  A decade ago, around five out of 10 IP applications were in Asia, last year, this number was close to 7 out of 10 IP applications.

Non-Resident Filings Decrease in Most Nations

Resident filings increased by 3.3% in 2020 compared to 2019. In contrast, non-resident filings decreased by 2.2% – the first decline since 2016 (see graph above). The WIPIR does not give a reason. Filing and maintenance costs, Covid or the difficulty of enforcing patents abroad could be the reason for this.

  • Non-resident trademark applicants only accounted for between 2–3% of total trademark filing in China
  • Women inventors accounted for only 16.5% of all inventors listed in PCT applications in 2020

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