Japan granted the maximum number of patents in 2007 and has replaced the United States from number one position, a status it was enjoying for nearly a decade, a UN agency report says.
"The USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office), which has issued the highest number of patents since 1998, was overtaken in 2007 by the patent office of Japan," the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) said in a statement today.
Geneva-based WIPO is a specialised agency of the United Nations for developing a balanced and accessible international system in the field of intellectual property rights.
Further, the patent office of China has replaced the EPO (European Patent Office) as the fourth largest office in terms of issuing grants, WIPO said in its report titled the "World Intellectual Property Indicators 2009."
The report is based on 2007 figures, the last year for which complete worldwide statistics are available, WIPO said.
In 2007, Japan granted 1.64 lakh patents, whereas in USA the number was 1.57 lakh. The total number of granted patent in that year stands at 18.5 lakh.
In terms of patent filing, the report said Patent offices of India, Brazil and Mexico, received a significant number of filings, report stated.
Trends in intellectual property activity shows that demand for IP rights continued to increase prior to the onset of the global economic crisis, it said.