Huawei leads Asian dominance of the U. N. patent applications in 2018

GENEVA (Reuters) – the Chinese telecom giant Huawei led the pack with Asia accounts for more than half of international patent applications with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) last year, WIPO said on Tuesday.

A Huawei company logo is seen outside a shopping mall in Shanghai, China on March 7, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song

Huawei, which is already under pressure, because the United States demanded its allies to bar Chinese suppliers of participation in the building of 5G networks, due to national security concerns, made 5,405 patent applications to the U. N. body of 4,024 in 2017.

“It is an all-time record by anyone,” WIPO director-general Francis Gurry told a news conference.

WIPO oversees international treaties on patents, trademarks and industrial designs. Its annual report on the applications it receives – a subset of all intellectual property registrations worldwide provides an overview of the trends.

Asia, on the basis of dossiers processed 50.5% of the total applications received, Gurry said.

“Historically, this is really special,” he said. “Historically, this is a momentous occasion, this is something that is really a very, very significant result.”

The second largest user of the WIPO international patent system in 2018, Mitsubishi Electric with 2,812 file, followed by Intel with 2,499.

Although inventors in the United States filed more applications than in any other country, China seems to be taking the top place this year or next, after a rapid rise in the last quarter of a century.

With filed only one patent application in the WIPO system in 1993, the applications, overtook Japan in 2017, and grew by a further 9.1 percent, to 53,345 in 2018, while the number of USA based on the filings slipped 0.9 percent to 56,142.

Asia accounts for six of the top eight companies, with the chinese ZTE Corp. and BOE Technology Group and South Korean Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics are also among the leaders.

China also jumped in the academic ranking, with four of the universities make the top ten list for the first time.

While the University of California remained well ahead in the educational institutions, with 501 patent in 2018, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology came in second, Shenzhen University and South China University of Technology leap in the third and fourth place, just for Harvard.

Gurry said Chinese universities benefited from a strong emphasis on innovation and the commercialisation of basic research, as well as access to the world’s second largest national pole of research and development spending.

He said that China had introduced an equivalent of the US Bayh-Dole Act, to ensure that patents on publicly funded research were used, which may have had an impact on the Chinese universities’ attitude towards the commercialization of their research.

The WIPO report displays applications for patents, trademarks and designs that their owners feel are valuable enough to protect and promote abroad. Another WIPO report, released in December, consists of millions of applications for IP protection that were never filed in the foreign country.

Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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