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Which Countries are Granted the Most New Patents?

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Which Countries are Granted the Most New Patents?

Which Countries are Granted the Most New Patents?

Every year, the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) tracks hundreds of thousands of patents across industries.

These patents grant their inventors exclusive intellectual property rights over their creations. They encourage new ideas, spur scientific development, and lead to new technologies and entire sectors being born.

However, the number of patents granted varies greatly across nations. When viewing the origin of each patent’s applicant, we see a handful of countries dominating certain industries.

In this graphic, Jacqueline Ann DeStefano-Tangorra uses 2021 WIPO data to showcase which countries were granted the most new patents, along with their sector categorizations.

Countries with the Most New Patents

In 2021, out of 1,608,375 patents across multiple fields, 87% were granted to innovators from just six countries.

Applicants by CountryGranted Patents (2021)% of Total
🇨🇳 China607,75837.8%
🇺🇸 United States286,20517.8%
🇯🇵 Japan256,89016.0%
🇰🇷 South Korea156,9729.8%
🇩🇪 Germany69,6724.3%
🇬🇧 United Kingdom20,0091.2%
❓ Unknown24,6771.5%
🌎 Other Countries186,19211.6%
World Total1,608,375100.0%

After rapidly increasing its patent output in recent years, China topped the chart in 29 out of 36 total fields including computer technology, electrical machinery, and digital communication. The Chinese government’s focus on innovation led to the nation’s applicants receiving 38% of the 1.6 million patents granted in 2021.

The United States—home to the world’s largest tech companies—came in second with 286,205 granted patents by origin. The U.S. also topped four fields of its own: medical technology, engines and turbines, basic communication processes, and unknown (for inventions that can’t be assigned to a specific field).

Not far behind is Japan with 256,890 granted patents. It dominated the other nations in the fields of semiconductors, optics, and furniture and games, cementing its well-earned reputation of technological innovation.

“Unknown” origin applicants, for which the nationality or country of residence couldn’t be determined for the inventor(s), accounted for 24,677 of granted patents.

The Origin of New Patents by Field

When assessing which technological fields inventors are pursuing in 2021, it’s not unexpected that digital and electrical technologies are in the lead:

RankMain Field of Technology% of Granted Patents
1Computer technology10.3%
2Electrical machinery, apparatus, energy6.6%
3Digital communication6.5%
4Measurement5.9%
5Medical technology4.8%
6Transport4.5%
7Civil engineering3.7%
8Other special machines3.6%
9Audio visual technology3.3%
10Semiconductors3.3%
11Machine tools2.9%
12Chemical engineering2.8%
13Handling2.7%
14Optics2.6%
15Pharmaceuticals2.4%
16Materials, metallurgy2.4%
17Control2.4%
18Mechanical elements2.3%
19Telecommunications2.3%
20Furniture & games2.3%
21Basic materials chemistry2.3%
22Engines, pumps, turbines2.2%
23Biotechnology2.1%
24Organic fine chemistry2.0%
25IT methods for management1.9%
26Macromolecular chemistry, polymers1.7%
27Other consumer goods1.7%
28Environmental technology1.6%
29Thermal Processes and apparatus1.6%
30Surface technology, coating1.5%
31Textile & paper machines1.5%
32Food chemistry0.9%
33Basic communication processes0.6%
34Analysis of biological material0.6%
35Micro structural & nano technology0.2%
36Unknown0.003%

There are also many patents granted mainly in infrastructure-related fields, which have become all the more important following the COVID-19 pandemic and an increasing focus on trade.

These include medical technology, transport, civil engineering, and semiconductors.

A Tech-Savvy Future

The number of patents granted in 2021 is a testament to the growing importance of innovation around the world.

While a select few nations have dominated the patent landscape so far, there are many others making significant contributions to innovation and intellectual property.

As technology continues to advance and the global economy becomes more interconnected, the importance of intellectual property rights will only continue to grow.

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This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.

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Technology

Visualizing Microsoft’s Revenue, by Product Line

This graphic breaks down Microsoft’s revenue by segment—from cloud office software to AI search engine capabilities in 2023.

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Visualizing Microsoft’s Revenue, by Product Line

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Over the last decade, Microsoft’s revenue has more than doubled, driven by key product lines like its intelligent cloud infrastructure.

Adding to this, Microsoft launched its AI-enabled search engine, Copilot last year, which has already generated $12 billion for the company. Beyond this search engine, Microsoft is developing a range of AI-based services, such as Azure Arc, a cloud computing platform with 18,000 customers.

This graphic breaks down Microsoft’s revenue in 2023, based on data from Affinity powered by Syntax.

Microsoft’s Most Lucrative Business Segments

In 2023, Microsoft revenues soared to a record $211 billion as demand for AI services accelerated.

As one of the world’s largest companies by market cap, Microsoft reached a $2.8 trillion valuation as investors flocked to big tech and AI-related stocks last year. Amid strong growth, here’s how much revenue was generated from Microsoft’s product lines in 2023:

Product LIneFY2023 Revenue Share of Revenue
Cloud Computing Services$80B38%
Cloud Office Suite Software$49B23%
Operating Systems$22B10%
Gaming Consoles$15B7%
Employment Listing Platform$15B7%
AI-Enabled Search Engine$12B6%
Other$19B9%
Total Revenue$211B100%

Comprising 38% of total revenues in 2023, Microsoft’s cloud computing services segment earns more than any other by a long shot.

These intelligent cloud services provide the servers, storage, and data centers that enable businesses to run websites and other computing services without the need for buying individual hardware and software.

The second-highest revenue driver was cloud office suite software, with sales of Microsoft 365 bringing in $49 billion in revenue.

Meanwhile, Microsoft’s gaming consoles segment pulled in $15 billion in one of its best years ever. In 2023, the company acquired Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion, known for World of Warcraft and Call of Duty. It was the company’s biggest acquisition in its history.

Falling after gaming revenues is Copilot, its AI-enabled search engine, making up 6% of 2023 revenues. This productivity tool can be embedded into Microsoft 365, allowing companies to use natural language prompts to gain data on their company, summarize insights from meetings, and a host of other functions.

As AI-related services continue to gain momentum, it remains to be seen whether Microsft’s revenue will continue to see strong growth. So far, investor optimism has remained elevated.

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