"The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) announced in Geneva on February 9 that China's international patent applications increased sharply last year, making the country the world's fourth IP applicant....WIPO noted IP applications are on steady increase in northeast Asian nations".
Now the KCNA's take on anything is always to be taken with a shovelload of salt, or at the very least rates a bit of act checking. Anyway, while there is nothing incorrect in the statement, it is what the KCNA omits that is of interest: "International patent filings under WIPO's Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) increased by 4.8% in 2010, with strong growth from China (+56.2%), the Republic of Korea (+20.5%), and Japan (+7.9%)". Source
Ah - so the KCNA wants to suck up to the 'People's Republic' of China (of which there has been a lot more than usual of late) but can't bear to name the other names of 'northeast Asian nations' because that includes two out of the DPRK's three least favourite places, South Korea and Japan. The US, natch, is the other least favoured nation and leads, as this chart shows:
(Click for improved legibility).
And lo and behold, the US, Japan and South Korea muster 53% of the projected 2010 patents. We managed 3%.
Because I think it is least mildly interesting, here are those figures based on patents per head: