What Are Intellectual Property Statistics?

The number of patents per year granted in the world are included in intellectual property statistics. These statistics are important to anyone who wants to better understand the trends in technology, business, and policies across the globe. The IP Statistics Data Center from WIPO is available for free online, offering access to the statistical data of activity relating to intellectual property in the world.

It's easy to search the statistics online by using all types of indicators and information. You can also download and view the historical and current data, based on what you need. This service from WIPO helps researchers, professionals, and policymakers in all facets of intellectual property across the world.

The technology concordance table from the WIPO connects 35 technological fields and the symbols associated with the International Patent Classification system. This table is updated regularly to include any updates in the IPC. Along with the most up-to-date information, the table includes historical statistics dating as far back as 1883. The goal of WIPO is to create and sustain a better understanding of how intellectual property policy choices can impact the economy. Protecting intellectual property has become even more important to economic policies throughout the world.

The most important IP statistics in the table include:

  • Micro-organisms
  • Utility and patent models
  • Plant varieties
  • Industrial designs

Number of Patents Per Year

Information about the number of patents given per year is available from The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The number of applications submitted in the 2015 fiscal year is available on the visualization center page on the USPTO website. The data from the USPTO reveals that the number of applications submitted for patents stayed the same between 2014 and 2015. However, applications for utility, plant, and reissue patents did decrease by one-half of a percent when compared with the 2014 fiscal year. This change is minor, especially when comparing the growth over multiple years. 

The USPTO includes Requests for Continued Examination in its chart, and the number of those applications increased by approximately 1 percent. Including both applications and patents, the number of patent documents published within the U.S. was 709,453 in 2015. This number actually set a new record for a year, but only increased over the 2014 number by fewer than 2,000 documents. In 2015, 2.68 million applications were filed, marking an increase of 4.5 percent over the previous year. The total number of grants was 1.18 million.

The USPTO also issued the numbers of applications for utility, plant, and reissue (UPR) patents in each fiscal year. These numbers are available with and without requests for continued examination.

  • In 2009, 322,735 UPR patent applications were filed and 138,189 applications with requests for continued examination were filed.
  • In 2010, 328,171 UPR patent applications were filed and 153,312 applications with requests for continued examination were filed.
  • In 2011, 354,280 UPR patent applications were filed and 152,644 applications with requests for continued examination were filed.
  • In 2012, 375,491 UPR patent applications were filed and 157,817 applications with requests for continued examination were filed.
  • In 2013, 402,327 UPR patent applications were filed and 164,072 applications with requests for continued examination were filed.
  • In 2014, 407,137 UPR patent applications were filed and 175,066 applications with requests for continued examination were filed.
  • In 2015, 411,728 UPR patent applications were filed and 168,489 applications with requests for continued examination were filed.

Another piece of data included on the USPTO chart is the number of design patent applications filed per year.

  • In 2009, 25,575 design patents were recorded.
  • In 2010, 28,577 design patents were recorded.
  • In 2011, 30,247 design patents were recorded.
  • In 2012, 32,258 design patents were recorded.
  • In 2013, 35,065 design patents were recorded.
  • In 2014, 36,321 design patents were recorded.
  • In 2015, 36,889 design patents were recorded.

Top Patent Owners

In 2015, the patent holder with the highest number of patents in the U.S. was IBM. Although Samsung actually had more published patents, these were under multiple business names, such as Samsung SDI, Samsung Display, Samsung Electronics, and others. A Samsung entity published 20,810 patent documents in the U.S. in 2015, along with 9,5888 grants. The total sum is over 3,000 more granted patents than IBM received in 2015.

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