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CHINA BRIEF: China becomes world’s top filer for international patents, Huawei and Oppo among leading filers

A position previously held by the United States since 1978.

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China became the leader in international patent filings, ending a four decades era led by the United States as the world’s biggest user of international patent applications filed under the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).

According to a press release by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), “China’s rapid growth to become the top filer of international patent applications via WIPO underlines a long-term shift in the locus of innovation towards the East, with Asia-based applicants now accounting for more than half of all PCT applications,” said WIPO’s director general Francis Gurry.

With 58,990 PCT applications, China was the top filer in 2019, followed by the US with 57,840 applications, Japan with 52,660, Germany (19,353), and the Republic of Korea (19,085).

Shenzhen-headquartered Huawei topped among all companies, with 4,411 published PCT applications, followed by Mitsubishi Electric (2,661); Samsung (2,334); Qualcomm (2,127); and Dongguan-based smartphone maker Oppo (1,927).

It is the first time Oppo broke into the top five group, replacing telecom provider and smartphone vendor ZTE.

This article is part of KrASIA’s “China Brief” section, where KrASIA’s reporters will provide quick daily updates about the tech ecosystem in China.