Innovative enterprises and individuals around the world overcame the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 to drive the WIPO global intellectual property (IP) services for patents, trademarks and designs to record-setting levels.
International patent applications filed via the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) owned by WIPO, a widely used metric for measuring innovative activity, grew by 0.9% in 2021 to reach 277,500 applications – the highest-ever level. Asia manifested its lead as the largest origin of international patent applications, accounting for 54.1% of all applications in 2021, up from 38.5% in 2011.
WIPO’s global trademark (Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks) and design (Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs) filing systems, used to protect and promote brands and the look and feel of products like mobile phones, each notched double-digit growth to mark new records as did WIPO’s anti-cybersquatting and arbitration and mediation activities.
“These figures show that human ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit remain strong despite the disruptions caused by the pandemic.” said Daren Tang, WIPO director general.
“WIPO’s global IP services help local enterprises go global by making it easier and cheaper to promote their businesses overseas. Although COVID-19 related restrictions have kept humans and families apart, it cannot stop the worldwide movement of fresh ideas, innovative products and new services,” the DG said.
IP filing activity has grown during the global pandemic, even during the 2020 drop in worldwide economic growth. Innovative activity and globalised operations are increasingly central to many enterprises and are long-term commitments.
Madrid System trademark filings, which reflect new business starts and creation of brands, declined at the height of the pandemic in 2020 but rebounded in 2021 with strong growth in filings originating from France, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S.
The strong uptake of international trademarks during 2021 shows how companies seized opportunities for introducing new goods and services as consumer demands shifted and the digitalization of economies accelerated amid the pandemic.