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China leads the world in PCT growth

Joe Biden said the Chinese can’t innovate. But new figures show that PCT applications from China grew by a third last year – and for the first time a Chinese company is ranked number one for published patents

WIPO’s annual PCT statistics, published today, show that applications from the so-called BRIC markets are soaring.

Filings from China grew by 33.4% last year, making the country the fourth biggest source of PCT applications, behind the United States, Japan and Germany.

Applications from Russia were up 20.8%, those from Brazil up 17.2% and those from India up 11.2%.

Provisional WIPO figures show that 2011 saw a record 181,900 applications in total, which was an increase of 10.7% on 2010.

While the US remains the largest user of the PCT system, with 48,596 filings in 2011, its share of total filings fell by 0.7%.

The statistics come just days after US Vice-President Joe Biden was reported as saying that Chinese citizens don’t think freely or innovate.

“Why have they not become [one of] the most innovative countries in the world? Why is there a need to steal our intellectual property? Why is there a need to have a business hand over its trade secrets to have access to a market of a billion, three hundred million people? Because they’re not innovating,” Biden told students at Iowa State University on Thursday, according to the Washington Post.

But the WIPO figures revealed only one US company in the top 15 PCT filers, compared to five Japanese, two Korean and two Chinese companies.

Telecoms company ZTE topped the list for the first time, with 2,826 PCT applications published in 2011 (a growth of 958 on 2010). It displaced Panasonic, which had 2,463 applications published. Another Chinese company, Huawei, ranked third with 1,831 applications published.

The WIPO figures are provisional as the Office may not yet have received all PCT applications filed with national offices in 2011.

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