Samsung Electronics' Galaxy S22 series gadgets are displayed at a store in Seoul Monday. (Yonhap)
South Korea’s tech giants Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics were among the five largest patent cooperation treaty (PCT) filers worldwide, the Korean Intellectual Property Office said Monday.
A PCT is a global filing service that protects inventions, allowing applicants to seek international protection for an intellectual property simultaneously in over 150 countries with a single filing. Under the mechanism devised by World Intellectual Property Organization, a United Nations agency, patent filers no longer have to seek protection country by country.
Samsung Electronics, dedicated to semiconductor chips, smartphones and home appliances, was ranked third with 3,041 PCT applications in 2021, down by a notch compared to the previous year. TV and home appliances maker LG Electronics with 2,885 applications were ranked No. 4.
They followed Chinese technology equipment maker Huawei Technologies, which topped the list for the fifth consecutive year, and US-based chipmaker Qualcomm, whose yearly PCT application surged 80 percent.
The number of Samsung‘s PCT filings for 2021 fell 1.7 percent from a year prior, while that of LG Electronics rose 4.6 percent.
Among top 50 PCT applicants in the world, there were Korean firms -- Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, as well as battery materials firm LG Chem and battery maker LG Energy Solution. Filing zero PCT applications in 2020, LG Energy Solution’s filing rose to become No. 40 with 548 filings.
Korea was also home to six educational institutions who were among the top 50 in PCT ranking. These were Korea University, Yonsei University, Hanyang University, Seoul National University, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and Catholic University.
Overall, all Korean entities filed a combined 20,678 PCT applications, as Korea was ranked No. 4 following China, US and Japan. Korea has remained in the position for two straight years. From 2010 to 2019, Korea took the No. 5 spot in the world.
Korea’s PCT applications grew 3.2 percent year-on-year, showing the steepest rise among top five countries. This also outpaced the overall growth of PCT filings globally at 0.9 percent.
The increasing number of PCT applications imply an active innovation of an entity. According to KIPO, the number of patent applications via PCT system is one of the criteria for Bloomberg Innovation Index and WIPO’s Global Innovation Index to gauge the level of innovation.
The figures show that the government agency is “striving to secure intellectual property rights for outcomes by innovative Korean firms in the world,” a KIPO official said.