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Patents by Country / Number of Patents Per Country 2024

In a ranking of patents by Country, China leads with a total of around 695,400 international (PCT) patent applications filed per year, followed by the United States and Japan, respectively.

The top ten countries account for more than 88% of all applications filed annually, as of 2021 statistics.

What is a Patent?

A patent is an exclusive right granted to a new invention that's non-obvious and useful in providing a new way of doing things or a technical solution to a problem.

It’s a form of intellectual property that gives a legal right for the inventor to exclude others from selling or making an invention for a specified period. The legal right is in exchange for disclosing the technical information about the invention to the public as an enabling disclosure in a patent application.

Some other forms of intellectual property rights are referred to as patents in various jurisdictions. In the U.S., industrial design rights are sometimes called design patents, plant breeders' rights are also known as plant patents, and other names for utility models are petty patents or innovation patents.

Patent by Country Variations

Patent granting procedures, patentee requirements, and extent of exclusive rights differ widely among countries, and are based on national laws and other international agreements.

However, a patent application comprises one or more claims defining its protection scope. Patent rights fall under private law in most countries, and the patent owner must sue whoever infringes the patent to enforce their rights.

Under the WTO TRIPS agreement, patents are available in the member countries stating that the period of protection shouldn't be less than twenty years. But there’re still variations in the patentable subject matter among the countries.

Here’s a list showing the top ten countries with the most international patent applications by the end of the year 2021.

Country and Approximate Number of Patent Applications

Country
Total Patent Grants
China695,946
United States327,307
Japan184,372
South Korea145,882
India30,721
Brazil26,872
Russia23,662
Canada22,687
Germany21,113
Australia17,155

Patents in China

China has authorized over 2.53 million patents in the past five years, with a 13.4% average annual growth rate. In 2021, the country accredited about 695,400 patents. The average ownership of invention patents in China reached 7.5 per 10,000 people, almost twice as much as that at the end of 2017.

According to its 15-year (2021-2035) IPR development plan, China has set a clear target that the value of patent-intensive and innovative industries should contribute 13% of the country's GDP by 2025.

Patents in the United States

In the 2021 fiscal year, there were around 595,700 patent applications in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, a slight decrease from the previous year's 597,000 applications.

To obtain patent protection under U.S. law, the patentee should apply to the USPTO, where it’s reviewed to determine whether the invention is patentable. The law grants patent holders the right to exclude others people from making, using, or selling their invention.

Patents in Japan

Japanese patent applications ranked third by country, showing a 1.2% drop from the previous year.

One suggested explanation for decreased potent applications in Japan could be that Japanese companies tend to fill patents in more mature industries and less in healthcare and digital technologies -- which were the key drivers of progression in patent applications at the EPO total in 2021.

  • Totals shown do not include 45,136 patents marked as coming from "Other/Unknown" offices. Nor do they include patents submitted via intragovernmental collectives, such as the Eurasian Patent Organization or the African Intellectual Property Organization, as those patents are not traced back to a single country by the World Intellectual Property Organization.

Download Table Data

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Country
Total Patent Grants
Total Patent Applications
Non-Resident Patent Applications
Resident Patent Applications
Resident Patent Grants
Non-Resident Patent Grants
China695,9461,585,663159,0191,426,644584,891111,055
United States327,307591,473329,229262,244149,538177,769
Japan184,372289,20066,748222,452141,85342,519
South Korea145,882237,99851,753186,245110,35135,531
India30,72161,57335,30626,2676,38424,337
Brazil26,87224,23219,5664,6662,55224,320
Russia23,66230,97711,40819,56915,0128,650
Canada22,68737,15532,4454,7102,27220,415
Germany21,11358,56918,74739,82212,8408,273
Australia17,15532,40929,4432,9661,07016,085
France15,49314,7591,37313,38613,5841,909
Hong Kong14,66221,94321,54240128314,379
United Kingdom10,89518,8557,26311,5924,8946,001
Mexico10,36916,16115,0441,1176189,751
Italy7,25411,07879710,2816,564690
Malaysia6,8767,5346,6518831,0405,836
Indonesia6,8508,8007,4031,3977366,114
Singapore6,48814,59012,5662,0244316,057
South Africa6,10710,9609,1561,8045655,542
Israel5,4889,6098,0171,5921,0064,482
Vietnam3,6918,5347,4681,0661533,538
Poland3,3193,4881113,3773,24475
Thailand2,9948,2427,3758671822,812
Chad2,3792532,126
Argentina2,2983,6693,2634062812,017
Ukraine2,2983,3932,0911,3029901,308
Netherlands2,2643,4701,3902,0801,608656
New Zealand2,1496,8526,522330692,080
Saudi Arabia1,7463,9792,5811,3983731,373
Philippines1,4494,3933,903490501,399
Colombia1,2632,2871,8554322211,042
Luxembourg1,0361,5531,441112106930
Belgium1,0051,214415799727278
Algeria77084958126899671
Morocco7452,8032,54925499646
San Marino72972972277722
Switzerland7241,5552671,288510214
Sweden7172,1964251,771575142
Spain7161,4341261,30864868
United Arab Emirates6552,4232,354693652
Kazakhstan651521130
Norway6501,580634946381269
Peru5711,2351,1419421550
Finland5451,6621051,55751134
Egypt5082,2241,34388163445
Panama476436401354472
Czech Republic4446005954140440
Romania3768174577236016
Denmark3681,2761861,090267101
Belarus31638611027626353
Uzbekistan29866525241320395
Greece25292653239424012
Bangladesh24044737374
Pakistan23499356742646188
Dominican Republic22722722078219
Sri Lanka19453927326666128
Portugal1917534271117912
Mongolia1861867710969117
Bulgaria182171616516913
Jordan1663473222510156
Costa Rica130581566150130
Georgia128254164904286
Azerbaijan1191351611910217
Hungary107446134339413
Slovakia106159131469214
Honduras921881880092
Qatar8376972247479
Lithuania83909817310
Cuba8110786211368
Latvia761084104715
Moldova697612645712
Bahrain673293263067
El Salvador581461442058
North Macedonia5142042438
Angola4986086490
Madagascar4828226048
Serbia4515618138441
Ireland4311742752617
Trinidad and Tobago401511492040
Kyrgyzstan3987483390
Guatemala382582499038
Brunei311391372031
Armenia2748840243
Guyana2140040210
Ecuador1740837335017
Macau1537352015
Tanzania1344
Belize1227270012
Andorra12118348
Malta11105529
Dominica1111110011
Zimbabwe1051
Monaco983545
Estonia8262580
Croatia788117734
Iceland73623443
Jamaica576601623
Yemen44222203
Bosnia and Herzegovina46185304
Mauritius42014604
Samoa310103
Albania22412311
Cape Verde221102
Mozambique461630
Venezuela291
Syria125
Chile3,0822,680402
Oman5460546
Botswana303
Cyprus32
Bhutan770
Barbados73073
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines11110
Antigua and Barbuda880
showing: 114 rows

Which country has the most patents per capita?

With 695,946 applications, China is the country with the largest number of patents.

Frequently Asked Questions

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