In a year marked by global shutdowns due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, it was questionable whether the effects would impact the US IP industry. The interactive trend graphs seek to answer this question and provide insights into innovation trends for 2020.
Total US Grants and Applications
USPTO patent grants showed a slight drop of 0.68% from 2019 to 2020, while patent applications reached a record high of 413,176. Overall, an upward trend is seen in the last 10 years for both grants and applications, portraying a positive innovation trend and steady growth in the US patent industry.
These results indicate that COVID-19 has not affected the USPTO’s productivity. However, it is too early to conclude whether the pandemic has affected patent filings. In the case of patent filings, these dates are not known until an application is published at least 18 months later. Therefore, the effects of the pandemic on the US IP industry will not be known for another two years, when filing dates can be compared year over year.
The top countries by number of granted patents in the US for 2020 were: The United States (164,379), followed by Japan (52,421), South Korea (22,400) and China (18,792). The top European country for US patent grants is Germany.
Change in Patents by Country
The largest year-over-year increase for US patent grants is China with an 11.31% increase since 2019, followed by Taiwan at +5.05%. While South Korea and the United Kingdom's US grants also increased slightly, all other leading countries showed a decreased growth rate for 2020.
Change in Patents by Region
In line with our country analysis, Asia showed a positive growth rate in US patent grants since 2019, while North America and Europe had a negative growth rate.
Change in CPC Codes for Granted Patents
To understand top technologies for US patent grants in 2020, CPC codes (Cooperative Patent Classifications) were analyzed. The top two patented technologies in 2020 by number of granted patents were G06F (Electrical digital data processing) and H04L (Transmission of digital information).
However, the CPC codes with the greatest year-over-year percent increase includes:
- G06K (Recognition of data; presentation of data; record carriers; handling record carriers)
- G06T (Image data processing or generation, in general)
- G06Q (Data processing systems and methods), which includes many areas of application such as administrative processes, commerce, financial and payment architectures, business processing using cryptography, etc.
Change in CPC Codes for Applications
A CPC code analysis of applications for new inventions can be considered a more direct indication of current strategic interests of those developing new technologies.
G06N (Computer systems based on specific computational models) stands out as the area with the most significant year-over-year increase in number of applications from 2019 to 2020. This group includes subareas such as machine learning, quantum computers and computer systems based on biological models, among other relevant classes.
Learn more about the terms and methods utilized in this report.