21 July 2024
Home » Global Patent Landscape-2021

Innovation and Intellectual Property are key drivers of economic growth and development, and the granting of patents is one way to measure a country’s level of innovation. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) tracks and publishes data on the number of patents granted by country each year, providing valuable insights into which nations are at the forefront of innovation and top fields of invention.

United Nations

According to the WIPO’s 2021 data, out of over 1.6 million patents granted across multiple fields, 87% were awarded to applicants from just six countries. China emerged as the global leader with 37.8% of the total patents granted, followed by the United States at 17.8% and Japan at 16.0%.

The following table shows the top countries with the most patents granted in 2021, as well as their percentage of the total granted patents:

RankCountryGranted Patents (2021) Percentage of Total
1China  607,75837.8%
2USA 286,20517.8%  
3Japan256,890 16.0% 
4South Korea 156,972   9.8% 
5Germany69,672 4.3% 
6UK   20,0091.2%
7Unknown 24,6771.5%
8Other Countries 186,19211.6%  
Countries with the most patents granted in 2021. (Source: WIPO ipstats)

China dominated in 29 out of 36 total fields, including computer technology, electrical machinery, and digital communication. The United States, home to the world’s largest tech companies, topped four fields of its own: medical technology, engines and turbines, basic communication processes, and unknown inventions.

When looking at the fields of technology in which patents were granted, digital and electrical technologies dominated, with computer technology accounting for 10.3% of granted patents, followed by electrical machinery at 6.6% and digital communication at 6.5%. Infrastructure-related fields such as medical technology, transport, and civil engineering also saw significant patent activity.

The following table shows the top 10 fields of invention in which the most patents granted in 2021, as well as their percentage of the total granted patents:

RankMain Field of Technology% of Granted Patents
1Computer/ IT10.3%
2Electrical machinery, apparatus, energy6.6%
3Digital communication6.5%
5Medical technology4.8%
7Civil engineering3.7%
8Other special machines3.6%
9Audio visual technology3.3%
Top 10 fields of invention in 2021

In conclusion, while a few countries continue to dominate the global patent landscape, there are many others making significant contributions to innovation and intellectual property. As technology continues to advance and the global economy becomes more interconnected, the importance of intellectual property rights will only continue to grow.

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