In 2017, inventors filed approximately 3.17 million patent applications worldwide, an increase of 5.1 percent over 2016. (WIPO, 2018).
Patents are a rich and important source of scientific and technical information, much of which is not published elsewhere. The patent literature is interdisciplinary and international, encompassing innovations in every field of technology during the last two hundred years. Patents contain solutions to technical problems and engineering challenges. Patents reveal the current state-of-the-art and provide vital information for making informed decisions about new research projects and business opportunities.
Designs improve the look, feel and use of products of all sizes, ranging from as small as a pill to as large as a ship. Designs also help to create brand recognition and loyalty. Many successful companies are known by their designs and designers.