US Universities Lead World Patent Application Rankings

American universities top a list of educational institutions ranked according to their number of international patent applications.

Mar 23, 2015
Jenny Rood


U.S. universities led among academic institutions ranked by number of international patent filings in 2014, but institutions in other countries are quickly expanding their patent prowess, according to a report released last week (March 19) by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Last year, 215,000 international patents were filed, a 4.5 percent increase from 2013. The three most prolific applicants were telecommunications firms, two from China and one from the U.S. In the educational institution rankings, the University of California system led with 413 applications, placing 47th overall. The next nine positions in the educational institution category were also U.S. universities:  MIT (234 patents), the University of Texas system (154), Harvard (147), Johns Hopkins (135), Stanford (113), Columbia (112), Caltech (103), and Penn (94). Other countries represented among the top 20 universities included South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Denmark, and China.

According to Inside Higher Ed, non-U.S. institutions “appear to be increasing their number of applications at faster rates than their American counterparts.” Among total patent applications from both academia and industry, for example, U.S. filings increased by 7.1 percent compared with 2013, while China’s increased by 18.7 percent, according to the WIPO report.