Patent applications from China at the European Patent Office grew 29.2 percent－the highest growth rate of the 10 leading patent filing countries－to 12,247 applications in 2019, setting a record high.
In the past decade, patent applications filed by Chinese companies with the EPO have increased sixfold. In 2010, applications stood at 2,061. Now China is the fourth-largest patent filing country at the EPO, advancing from No 5 in 2018, according to the EPO Annual Report for 2019, which was published in mid-March.
In the ranking of patent applicants at the EPO, Chinese telecoms company Huawei topped the list, up from No 2 the previous year.
Huawei was also by far the largest applicant in digital communications at the EPO in 2019 and the No 4 in computer technology, up from No 5.
The top three technology fields with the most European patent applications from China were digital communication; computer technology; and electrical machinery, apparatus and energy.
"In terms of European patent applications filed, Chinese firms were the champions of growth at 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."
In 2019, the technology fields with the strongest growth for China were digital communication; biotechnology; audiovisual technology; and organic fine chemistry. This indicates that the patent portfolio of technologies coming from China is broadening.
Headquartered in Munich with offices in Berlin, Brussels, The Hague and Vienna, the EPO was founded with the aim of strengthening cooperation of patents in Europe. It is also the world's leading authority in patent information and patent searching.
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