Huawei becomes top corporate patent filer for 3rd consecutive year

F.P. Report

KARACHI: According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) data, China’s Huawei Technologies, the world’s biggest maker of telecoms equipment, has become the top corporate patent filer for the third consecutive year. Hence, in a first, China knocks US from top spot in global patent race.

WIPO, which oversees a system for countries to share recognition of patents, said 58,990 applications were filed from China last year, beating out the United States which filed 57,840.

According to WIPO’s Head, Francis Gurry, China’s success was “down to a very deliberate strategy on the part of Chinese leadership to advance innovation and to make the country a country whose economy operates at a higher level of value.”

“It is working, and intellectual property is certainly part of that strategy. I would put it down to that broad movement towards becoming a higher-value economy,” he said.

China was the biggest source of applications for international patents in the world last year, pushing the United States out of the top spot it has held since the global system was set up more than 40 years ago, the UN patent agency said.

China’s figure was a 200-fold increase in just 20 years, it said. The United States had filed the most applications in the world every year since the Patent Cooperation Treaty system was set up in 1978. More than half of patent applications – 52.4 % – now come from Asia, with Japan ranking third, followed by Germany and South Korea. Ownership of patents is widely seen as an important sign of a country’s economic strength and industrial know-how.

Huawei is one of the largest patent holders in the world. As of December 31, 2019, the number of active patents held by Huawei exceeded 85,000. The active patents granted in China were 30,000+, and the active patents granted outside China were 50,000+. Of those, active patents granted in Europe and the US were 40,000+. Innovation has been fundamental to Huawei’s survival and development. The company invests long-term in R&D and continuously enriches its IPR portfolio. As per the company 2019 annual report announced last week, Huawei invested 15.3% of its USD$123 billion 2019 revenue -approximately USD$18.8 billion – back into R&D. Its total R&D spend over the past decade now exceeds USD$85.9 billion.