The 2007 edition of the Patent Report of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) (http://www.wipo.int/ipstats/en/statistics/patents/patent_report_2007.html) shows that worldwide filings of patent applications have grown at an average annual rate of 4.7% with the highest growth rates experienced in North East Asian countries, particularly the Republic of Korea (ROK) and China. The report is based on 2005 figures, the last year for which complete worldwide statistics are available. It showed that patents granted worldwide have increased at an average annual rate of 3.6% with some 600,000 patents granted in 2005 alone. By the end of 2005, approximately 5.6 million patents were in force worldwide.
The largest recipients of patent filings are the patent offices of Japan, the United States of America (USA), China, the ROK and the European Patent Office (EPO). These five offices account for 77% of all patents filed in 2005, (a 2% increase over 2004), representing 74% of all patents granted. With an increase of almost 33% over 2004, the patent office of China became the third recipient of patent filings in 2005.
Use of the international patent system has increased markedly in recent years and while it remains highly concentrated — 49% of the estimated 5.6 million patents in force are owned by applicants from Japan and the USA — there is evidence of increasing use of the system by newly industrializing nations.