Chinese companies witnessed the highest growth last year among leading patent filing countries at the European Patent Office, or EPO, according to a report released on Thursday.
The EPO Patent Index 2019 published by the Munich-based organization showed that patent applications originated from China at the EPO grew by 29.2 percent in 2019 to a total of 12,247, setting a record high.
In the past decade, patent applications filed by Chinese companies with the EPO have increased sixfold.
China moved up one place from 2018 to become the fourth-largest patent filing country at the EPO in 2019, trailing the United States, Germany and Japan.
In all, the EPO received more than 181,000 patent applications in 2019, an increase of 4 percent from 2018 and a new all-time high.
The US accounted for 25 percent of the total applications, while Germany made up of 15 percent and Japan took 12 percent. China accounted for 7 percent.
Chinese telecom giant Huawei topped the list of all companies in the ranking of patent applicants at the EPO, up from No 2 in the previous year. Huawei was also by far the largest applicant in digital communication at the EPO in 2019, followed by Ericsson, Qualcomm and Samsung.
In computer technology, Huawei ranked No 4.
"In terms of European patent applications filed, Chinese firms were the champions of growth at the EPO last year both in terms of volumes and growth rate," said EPO President Antonio Campinos.
"Their contribution to the unprecedented surge in applications in digital technologies demonstrates that China is a driver in technical fields that have become the most important area of innovation."
Chinese companies contributed the most to the growth in patent applications in digital communications, up almost 65 percent, compared with 15 percent by US companies and 36 percent by South Korea firms."The impressive development of patent applications over the past decade is testimony to China's increasing efforts in promoting research and development exemplifying its innovation-driven economy," Campinos said.
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