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UN Reports Sharp Rise in Patent Filings in China

Patent filings in China increased sharply in the decade from 1995 to 2004, which pushed the country to the fifth place for patent applications in the world, the UN agency for intellectual property said on Monday.

More than 130,000 applications were filed with China's patent office in 2004, the World Intellectual Property Organization said in a report.

That catapulted China into fifth place in the total number filed, behind Japan, the United States, the European Patent Office and South Korea, the report said.

Of the total 130,384 patent applications received in China in 2004, 65,786 were made by Chinese residents, a six-fold jump from 1995. Another 64,595 applications were from foreign individuals and companies, more than seven times the figure in 1995.

According to the report, a total of 1,599,000 patent applications were filed worldwide in 2004. The annual rate of increase since 1995 was 4.75 percent.

It noted a boom in patent filings in Northeast Asia over the past 20 years, most notably with the emergence of China and South Korea as major industrial economies.

For several decades, Japan has been the largest patent office in the world with more than 400,000 patent applications filed by residents and non-residents in 2004.

The use of the patent system is still very concentrated, said the report, with five patent offices, namely Japan, the United States, the European Patent Office, South Korea and China, accounting for some 75 percent of all patents filed and 74 percent of patents granted worldwide.

The patent system is an integral part of increasing global economic activity, with the increase in patent filings closely mirroring economic growth around the world, the report said.

It also pointed out that large increases in foreign filings in emerging economies such as Brazil, China, India, South Korea and Mexico reflected the desire of multinationals to protect their inventions in those markets.

(Xinhua News Agency October 17, 2006)

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