The growth in patent filings by a number of countries in north-east Asia and their share of overall patenting activity confirms shifting patterns of innovation around the world, according to Kamil Idris, director-general of the World Intellectual Property Organization (Wipro) which administers the international patent filing system.

In 2007, despite most applications originating from the US (33.5%), with Japan second (17.8%), the largest increase in applications came from South Korea with an 18% growth on 2006.

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East Asia – China in particular – is proving to be an increasingly popular investment destination for firms’ R&D operations. The region’s educated and cost-effective workforce, added to an effective legal and regulatory framework for the protection of intellectual property rights, is proving attractive to global firms.