Huawei Technologies filed the most number of patent applications in 2015, topping the global list for the second consecutive year and ahead of others such as Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics, Sony, and HP.
According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Huawei applied for 3,898 patents last year, up by 456 from 2014. Qualcomm, which filed 2,442 patent applications, ranked second on the list, followed by ZTE's 2,155 applications, Samsung's 1,683, and Mitsubishi Electric rounded up the top five with 1,593 applications.
Patents filed under the United Nations agency's PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) system provide successful applicants rights protection in 148 countries.
Last year, the number of PTC applications climbed 1.7 percent to 218,000, marking a new annual record, according to WIPO. US again contributed the highest number, retaining the pole position for 38 years with 57,385 patent applications, though, this was 6.7 percent lower than the previous year. While US led the charge here, China-based organisations fuelled much of the overall growth in 2015, the UN agency said.
Japan filed the second-highest number of PCT filings at 44,235, followed by China at 29,846. With these two Asian markets, as well as South Korea, the main growth drivers, Asia more than doubled its contribution to PCT applications since 2005 and currently accounted for 43 percent of global applications.
"Global intellectual property applications, like those for patents, trademarks and industrial designs provide a good indication of the incidence and location of innovation," said WIPO's director-general Francis Gurry. "We see through this indicator that, while the United States of America maintains its premier position, the geography of innovation continues to shift and to evolve, with Asia, and in particular Japan, China, and the Republic of Korea, forming the predominant geographical cluster."
Telecommunications vendors led the list of PCT filers in 2015, the agency said, adding that the computer technology and digital communications sectors also clocked the largest numbers of patent filings, each surpassing 16,000 applications. At 16,385 published applications or 8.2 percent of overall filings, computer technology contributed the largest share of PCT applications, followed by digital communications at 8 percent, electronic machinery at 7.3 percent, and medical technology at 6.3 percent.
Hewlett-Packard Development Company was the largest patent filer in the computer technology sector, followed by Huawei and Qualcomm. Huawei also topped its sector in digital communication, followed by ZTE and Qualcomm. Japan's Mitsubishi, Panasonic Intellectual Property Management, and Toyota Jidosha made the top three list in electronic machinery.