The number of international patent applications continued to rise in China in the first half of 2009 despite the global economic crisis, the head of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) said in Geneva on Friday.
Preliminary figures show international patent applications from China in the first six months of this year were up 19 percent compared with same period in 2008, WIPO Director-General Francis Gurry told reporters.
But he said patent applications from the United States in the first half of this year were down by 14 percent, mainly because of the impact of the economic crisis.
He also estimated a 5 percent decline of the world's total number of international patent applications in the whole year.
According to the WIPO chief, China's economy has been far less hit than that of the United States, and enterprises and universities in the country are becoming increasingly familiar with the international patent system. All these factors contributed to the increase of its patent applications.
WIPO figures show international patent and trademark applications from China have been increasing rapidly in recent years as the country attaches more importance to technology, innovation and creativity.
International patent applications from inventors in China totaled 6,089 in 2008, up 11.9 percent from 2007. The country also improved its ranking by one place, to become the sixth largest user of the international patent system.
The United States maintained its top position in international patent applications in 2008, with 53,521 applications, or 32.7 percent of the world's total. But the country suffered a 1 percent decline compared with the number in 2007.
Inventors and corporations from Japan clinched the number two spot in 2008, with 28,774 filings, or 17.5 percent of the word's total applications. Other countries in the top five include Germany (18,428), the Republic of Korea (7,908) and France (6,867).
In 2008, approximately 163,600 international patent applications were filed worldwide, representing a 2.3 percent increase on 2007 figures, WIPO said.