China's patent office for the first time became the world's largest last year, as the number of global patent filings continued to grow despite the sluggish economy, the UN's intellectual property agency said.
Launching its World Intellectual Property Indicators 2012 report on Tuesday, Wipo said global patent filings last year swelled to a record 2.14 million and that China had dethroned the United States to take the biggest portion of the pie.
China's State Intellectual Property Office (Sipo) had received a whopping 526,412 patent applications last year, a hike of 35 per cent from 2010, compared to 503,582 for the United States and 342,610 for third-place-holder Japan, the report showed.
"In the 100 years before 2011, only three patent offices - Germany, Japan and the United States - had occupied the position of largest office," Wipo said.
Overall, patent filings grew 7.8 per cent in 2011 compared to the year before, while patents to protect inventions ballooned 35 per cent, industrial design patent applications grew 16 per cent and trademark filings jumped 13.3 per cent, Wipo said.
This growth is good news, Wipo chief Francis Gurry said in a statement, since it "indicates that companies continue to innovate despite weak economic conditions."
He said about two-thirds of patent applicants obtain the precious certificate protecting their invention.