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Intellectual property worldwide - Statistics & Facts

An intellectual property is basically a term used to describe creations of human mind. The competitive and complex realm of international intellectual property can be divided into several categories, such as patents, copyright, trademarks, or industrial design. Each of these classifications provides different degrees of exclusivity in regards to the rights of use in question.


Patents are the most traditional section of intellectual property. They are granted by sovereign authorities for an invention and give the patent owner the exclusive right to a given product or technology. The number of patents granted worldwide has more than tripled since 1990. One of the main reasons behind this growth is the boom on the technology market, especially in the fields connected with computer science and online technologies. In 2020, computer technology and digital communication topped the list of technologies with the most international patent applications.
Traditionally, the United States has been the powerhouse of intellectual property. The national patent office of the United States has the most patents in force worldwide, with more than 3.3 million patents in 2020. However, the status quo has been challenged by strong growth in Asian markets, especially China. The number of patent applications in China’s high-tech industry has exploded in the last decade, with 2020 applications four times what they were in 2010.


Technological innovations are not the only element of a successful product that companies seek to secure through intellectual property. Trademarks protect marketing rights such as logos, slogans and words that are associated with a company or its main products. The United States was the country with the most international trademark applications in 2020, followed by Germany and China.

Industrial designs

This category of international intellectual property relates to the specific design of a product. Industrial design grants are particularly important in industries where products are manufactured on a mass scale and where sales numbers depend on the visual appeal of a product. Furnishing, packages and containers, and recording and communication equipment were the industry classes with the most industrial design applications in 2020.

Interesting statistics

In the following 4 chapters, you will quickly find the 33 most important statistics relating to "Intellectual property worldwide".


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