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Korea rises to 4th place in international patent filings


South Korea went up one spot to place fourth in terms of the number of international patent filings, according to the Korean Intellectual Property Office on Thursday.

The country’s applications for international patent rights to the World Intellectual Property Office increased 5.2 percent from 19,073 in 2019 to 20,060 in 2020, the patent body said.

Korea, who placed fifth from 2010 to 2019, follows China, the United States and Japan.

The growth in patent filings was made largely in the contactless services sector in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The latest figures show Korean companies are actively securing intellectual properties abroad despite the pandemic,” a KIPO official said.

Korea also surpassed the 20,000 mark in applying for Patent Cooperation Treaty -- a law that assists applicants in seeking patent protection in various countries with a single filing for their inventions -- for the first time this year.

The world’s top 10 PCT applicants included China’s Huawei, Japan’s Mitsubishi, US Qualcomm and Korea’s Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics.

In particular, LG recorded the highest growth of 67.6 percent in applications in 2020 from a year earlier. Samsung rose from third place in 2019 to second last year.

In 2020, the total figure for international intellectual property applications stood at 275,900, up 4 percent from the previous year.

China kept the top spot for two years in a row, as it submitted 68,720 filings last year.

By Song Su-hyun (