Patents, trademarks reached new highs in 2016: UN

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Francis Gurry, Director-General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva. Photo: WIPO

Global innovation reached new highs in 2016 amid record applications for patents, trademarks and designs, the UN said on Wednesday.

In its latest report, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) showed that 3.1 million patent applications were made last year, an increase of 8.3 per cent on the previous 12 months.

Chinese growth continued to drive the so-called knowledge economy, confirming a decade-long trend, WIPO Director-General Francis Gurry said.

Daniel Johnson has more.

WIPO's annual update on patents and brands shows that China is once again in the driving seat when it comes to applications made for innovation.

In terms of patents, China's State Intellectual Property Office received the highest number of applications last year, at 1.3 million.

That's more than double the level of registrations in the United States – in second place – and more than four times what third-place Japan recorded.

The growth this reflects in the wider so-called "knowledge economy" is startling, given how much it has outstripped gains in traditional industry.

Here's the head of the UN intellectual property agency WIPO, Francis Gurry:

"The first thing that stands out and hits one in the face is the extraordinary growth numbers. Because you compare that to the world economy and it is a completely different picture."

Also driven by China, the WIPO report showed a massive increase in trademark applications in 2016 – up more than 16 per cent – and for industrial designs, which were up more than 10 per cent.

Duration: 1’05″ 

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