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March 20, 2019

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Huawei leads innovation surge by Asian business

Chinese telecoms giant Huawei Technologies was the top corporate filer of international patent applications in 2018, leading an Asia-based innovation surge accounting for over half of the applications submitted at the World Intellectual Property Organization last year, said yesterday.

“Asia is now the majority filer of international patent applications via WIPO, which is an important milestone for that economically dynamic region and underscores the historical geographical shift of innovative activity from West to East,” said WIPO Director-General Francis Gurry.

WIPO statistics showed that 50.5 percent of all Patent Cooperation Treaty applications filed in 2018 came from Asia, with Europe and North America accounting for about a quarter each.

US-based applicants filed 56,142 PCT applications, followed by applicants from China, 53,345, and Japan, 49,702.

Germany and the Republic of Korea ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, with 19,883 and 17,014. China and India (2,013) are the only two middle-income countries among the top 15 origins of PCT applications.

Huawei, with a record number of 5,405 published PCT applications, was the top corporate filer in 2018, which is “an all-time record by anyone,” Gurry said.

Huawei was followed by Mitsubishi Electric Corp (2,812), Intel Corp (2,499), Qualcomm Inc (2,404) and ZTE Corp (2,080).

China’s ZTE was the top applicant in 2016, but saw a 29.8 percent drop in the number of published PCT filings in 2018, its second straight year of decline.

The top 10 applicant list in 2018 comprises six companies from Asia, two from Europe and two from the US.

Among educational institutions, the University of California was the largest user of the PCT System in 2018 with 501 published applications, extending a leading position it has held since 1993.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology ranked second with 216, followed by China’s Shenzhen University, with 201, the South China University of Technology, with 170 and another two from China, Tsinghua University and the China University of Mining and Technology, ranking seventh and 10th respectively.

For the first time, Chinese universities appeared in the top 10 list.

That list comprises five universities from the US, four from China and one from the Republic of Korea.

Among fields of technology, digital communication (8.6 percent of the total) overtook computer technology (8.1 percent) with the largest share of published PCT applications.


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