* Chinese international patent filings jump 56 pct in 2010
* Japan and South Korea also up sharply
* U.S. filings down 1.7 pct but U.S. universities dominate
By Jonathan Lynn
GENEVA, Feb 9 China, Japan and South Korea are
dominating growth in international patent filings in a dramatic
demonstration of the shift of scientific and economic power to
northeast Asia, figures released on Wednesday showed.
The World Intellectual Property Organization said China had
increased its international patent filings in 2010 by an
astonishing 56.2 percent to 12,337, triple its 2006 figure and
pushing it into fourth place in global rankings.
South Korea, edged into fifth place by China, grew 20.5
percent and second-placed Japan, although a mature economy,
still managed growth of 7.9 percent.
"We see a meteoric rise of Northeast Asia," WIPO
Director-General Francis Gurry told a news conference.
With global growth in international patent filings rising
4.8 percent to close to pre-crisis levels, the Asian figures
complemented stagnation or decline in other industrialised
The United States, still by far the biggest filer, saw a
fall of 1.7 percent to 44,855, some 20 percent below its 2007
The figures underline the challenge for President Barack
Obama who called in last month's State of the Union speech for
the United States to regain competitiveness by more spending on
research and education.
U.S. policy-makers can draw some comfort from the list of
international patent applications by universities, still
completely dominated by U.S. schools, headed by the University
of California and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
U.S. legislation encouraging the commercialisation of
publicly funded research makes American universities better than
their foreign counterparts at making money out of their
inventions, Gurry noted.
Rich endowments and the general U.S. tradition of heavy
research spending also help.
The leap in Chinese patent filings shows that an increasing
number of inventors in China -- often accused of pirating other
people's intellectual property -- are seeking international
protection for their inventions.
The Chinese figures include a 33 percent jump in patents in
electrical engineering and a 220 percent leap in nanotechnology.
Gurry said India recorded a 15 percent rise in filings and
this would bear watching, although it is not yet a clear trend.
Among other big emerging economies, Brazil is scarcely a
player with only 442 filings in 2010, down from 493 in 2009,
while Russia dropped to 560 -- less than Singapore -- from 711.
The top 10 companies by filings included three from Japan,
two from China and one from South Korea, with one U.S. firm and
three Europeans making up the rest, data from the United Nations
intellectual property agency showed.
Japanese consumer electronics group Panasonic Corp. (6752.T)
again led the listings with 2,154 applications, and China's
second biggest telecoms equipment maker, ZTE Corp. (000063.SZ),
jumped into second place. U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm (QCOM.O) was
in third place followed by Chinese telecoms equipment maker
Huawei Technologies [HWT.UL] in fourth.
WIPO operates the Patent Cooperation Treaty which allows an
inventor to apply for an international patent affording
protection, once granted, in all treaty members, currently 142.
(Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)
(Full WIPO patent filing details at bit.ly/h4RjQ0 )