Patent applications originating from China at the European Patent Office (EPO) grew by 29.2 percent in 2019, the highest growth rate among the ten leading patent filing countries, to 12,247 applications, setting a new record high.
In the past decade, patent applications filed by Chinese companies with the EPO have increased six folds, from 2,061 applications in 2010, and China is now the fourth largest patent filing country at the EPO, advancing from No. 5 in 2018, according to the EPO Annual Report for 2019 published on Thursday.
In the ranking of patent applicants at the EPO, China's telecom company Huawei topped the list of all companies, up from No. 2 in the previous year. Huawei was also by far the largest applicant in digital communication 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, energy.
"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 demonstrate 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, audio-visual technology, and organic fine chemistry, indicating that the patent portfolio of technologies coming from China is further broadening.