2020 Invention Patent Application Trends across Technology Fields during COVID-19 Pandemic
In 2020, TIPO received 43,921 invention patent applications. Among them, resident applications remained stable, while non-resident applications decreased by 6%. South Korea rose by 5.5% among filing countries/regions, while Japan, the US, mainland China, and Germany dropped by 2%~8%. Semiconductors and computer technology took the top 2 spots among 35 technology fields. However, their downward trajectories, coupled with the decrease in digital communication filings, were considered to be the major cause of the dip in overall invention filings. On the other hand, the applications filed in the fields of medical technology and biotechnology saw double-digit growth.
Semiconductors and computer technology took top and second spots; medical technology and biotechnology saw the fastest growth
In 2020, semiconductors (4,775) topped the technology fields of invention patent applications, followed by computer technology (3,999). Compared to 2019, medical technology (1,496), and biotechnology (1,020) saw the fastest growth by 15.3% and 11.3% respectively, while semiconductors, computer technology, and digital communication (1,388) fell by 13.3% (-735), 6.8% (-291), and 21.1% (-372). The drop in these fields combined (-1,398) accounted for over 90% of the overall decrease in applications (-1,536) in 2020 (Fig. 1).
Residents filed the most in computer technology (2,329) and semiconductors (1,952) in 2020; non-residents in semiconductors (2,823) and computer technology (1,670). Regarding resident filings, medical technology (955, +28.7%) recorded the biggest growth. Over the same period, other special machines (495, +16.5%), handling (433, +12.2%), and pharmaceuticals (327, +6.5%) also increased, while semiconductors, computer technology, and digital communication (509) fell by 3%~12%. As for non-residents, biotechnology (840) recorded the fastest growth at 18.1%, while pharmaceuticals dropped by 9.2%, semiconductors, computer technology, and digital communication (879) further fell by 10%~26% (Fig. 2).
TSMC, Realtek Semiconductor, and U.S.-based Qualcomm led invention patent filings in semiconductors, computer technology, and digital communication fields
In 2020, the top applicants in computer technology, semiconductors, and digital communication fields were Realtek Semiconductor (118), TSMC (788), and Qualcomm (395) respectively (Table 1).
In computer technology, mainland China, the U.S., and South Korea applicants increased their filings in 2020; applications from mainland China saw the biggest growth (+27.7%), outnumbering the U.S. Among non-residents, Japan led in semiconductors, while the U.S. led (+12.6%) in digital communication (Fig. 3).
TCI, Japan-based DAIO PAPER, and U.S.-based GENENTECH led invention patent filings in pharmaceuticals, medical technology, and biotechnology
In 2020, the top applicants in medical technology, biotechnology, and pharmaceuticals were DAIO PAPER (34), GENENTECH (17), and TCI (40) respectively (Table 2).
In 2020, Japan (+12.9%) filed the highest number of applications in medical technology among non-residents. In the biotechnology field, annual application growth rates in the US, Japan, and mainland China ranged from 10-26%, with the U.S. outstripping other countries/regions. In pharmaceuticals, the U.S. also led among non-resident applicants. However, the filings from the U.S and Japan fell by 18% and 13%, while those from mainland China grew by 20% (Fig. 4).
Invention patent applications decreased due to the decline in non-resident filings in 2020
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic in March of 2020. During the months of 2020, except March, invention patent filings dropped. This was mainly due to the sustained drop in non-resident filings and decline in resident filings since April, with resident filings eventually dropping to -2%~3% (Fig. 5) since June. In 2020, TIPO received 43,921 filings (-3.4%), whereas 18,244 were filed by residents (+0.5%), and 25,677 were filed by non-residents (-6.0%) (Fig. 6, Fig. 7).
Invention patent application filed by South Korea increased, while those by Japan, the U.S., mainland China, and Germany dropped
A breakdown by applicant nationality shows that Japan topped the list with 11,356 invention patent applications, followed by the US (5,521), mainland China (2,608), South Korea (1,667), and Germany (875). At the beginning of the pandemic, filings from South Korea (annual growth rate of 5.5%) fell sharply by 9% in April but rebounded soon afterward. The U.S (-2.4%) and Germany (-6.2%) showed similar trends but recovered later in August. On the other hand, filings from mainland China (-3.4%) rose dramatically in Q2 but dropped in Q3 2020, while Japan (-8.1%) saw declines since March 2020 (Fig. 7, Fig. 8).
Attachment(s) for download
- Publish Date : 2021-09-22
- Update : 2021-11-04
- Organization : International Affairs and Planning Division
- Visitors : 178