Australia ranks 14th in intellectual property competitiveness

Number of patent filings fell 1.8% in 2011


The World Intellectual Property Organization recently released its estimates of international patent filings under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) for 2011. The year saw a record-setting 181,900 applications filed, a growth of 10.7 per cent over 2010 and the fastest growth since 2005.

“The recovery in international patent filings that we saw in 2010 gained strength in 2011,” remarked WIPO Director General Francis Gurry. “This underlines the important role played by the PCT system in a world where innovation is an increasingly important feature of economic strategy. It also shows that companies have been continuing to innovate in 2011 – reassuring news in times of persistent economic uncertainty.”
China, Japan and the US were the top three countries, accounting for 82 per cent of the total growth. Sitting in the top spot is Chinese telecommunications company ZTE Corporation, which was the biggest filer in 2011 with 2826 published PCT applications. The US still remains the largest source of patent filings with 48,596, followed by Germany and China. Australia ranks 14th.

Companies have been continuing to innovate in 2011 – reassuring news in times of persistent economic uncertainty.– WIPO Director General Francis Gurry

 While patent filings increased 33.4 per cent in China, 21 per cent in Japan, eight per cent in Korea and eight per cent in the US, in Australia the number of patent filings fell 1.8 per cent. No Australian company, university or research institute appeared in the top 100 filers, although some of those top 100 filers may have undertaken or used research and development from Australia in their patent applications. The top ranked Australian university for patent filings was the University of Sydney; it was the only Australian university to appear in the top 50 universities.

Digital communications was the technology that accounted for the largest share of patent filings, followed by electronic machinery, medical technology and computer technology.


Top 5 fields of technology

  • Electrical engineering
  • Electrical machinery, apparatus, energy
  • Audio-visual technology
  • Telecommunications
  • Digital communications


  • ZTE Corporation, China (2826 filings)
  • Panasonic, Japan (2463)
  • Huawei, China (1831)
  • Sharp, Japan (1755)
  • Robert Bosch Corporation, Germany (1518)   
  • Qualcomm, US (1494)


Top 7 universities by published PCT applications

  • University of California (US)
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)
  • University of Texas System (US)
  • Johns Hopkins University (US)
  • Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (Republic of Korea)
  • Seoul National University (Republic of Korea)
  • University of Tokyo (Japan)


Top 8 countries by PCT application

  • United States (48,596)
  • Japan (38,888)
  • Germany (18,568)
  • China (16,406)
  • Republic of Korea (10,447)
  • France (7664)
  • United Kingdom (4844)
  • Switzerland (3999)


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