Digital age is well and truly here, says UN patents chief

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Francis Gurry. Photo: WIPO/Berrod Emmanuel

Telecoms giants helped create record international patent applications last year – the fifth consecutive year of unprecedented gains, the UN announced on Thursday.

Applications for patents – licences which protect manufacturers' inventions – are closely followed by economists because they're seen as a key driver of growth.

In 2014 they were dominated by just three firms from China and the United States, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Daniel Johnson has more:

Chinese telecoms firm Huawei overtook Japan's Panasonic as the largest patent applicant in 2014 according to World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

In second place, US giant Qualcomm filed the second highest number of applications, which saw a 4.5 per cent increase last year.

WIPO chief Francis Gurry said that ZTE of China was third on the list which was dominated by digital communication applications.

"The digital age is well and truly here and we see the growing importance reflected in all these statistics."

Taken together, the three telecoms companies represented nearly 90 per cent of filings under WIPO's patent Cooperation Treaty, which has 148 member states.

Meanwhile, countries including Brazil, Russia and South Africa saw a slowdown in patent applications, which WIPO experts said was consistent with their slowing business cycle.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations.

Duration: 55″

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