• EPO President Benoit Battistelli

EPO President Benoit Battistelli (Photo : Getty Images)

China posted the highest growth in patent applications, as revealed in the 2016 Annual Report of the European Patent Office (EPO) on Tuesday, March 7.

Citing the EPO report, China Daily said that the number of patent applications from China rose 24.8 percent last year, surpassing South Korea for the first time. China is ranked sixth out of the top ten countries of origin of patent applications.

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The other countries in the top 10 are United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Japan and South Korea.

China is now one of the EPO's most important applicants and Europe is considered as an attractive technical market by many countries, EPO President Benoit Battistelli said in an interview.

Battistelli added that he expects China to continue to increase the number of patent applications at EPO in the next years.

"China wants to internationalize its economy and let its big companies not only concentrate on fulfilling domestic needs but also be present in the world market," Battistelli said.

In 2016, China's patent applications reached a total of 7,150, nearly 51 percent of these applications were from the sectors of digital communications, computer and telecommunications technologies.

EPO records also showed that Huawei topped the list with the highest ranking patent applicant for the third time, followed by Microsoft, Samsung. China multinational telecom equipment company ZTE ranked fifth.

Last year, China's sectors of engines, turbines, transport and biotechnology, posted a strong growth.

"There is a good cooperation with Europe and China in terms of patents and the system in China is very similar to the European one," Battistelli said.

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), global patent applications in 2015 surged as Chinese innovators made a new record by filing more than a million applications in a single year.

WIPO's annual World Intellectual Property Indicators (WIPI) report said that around 2.9 million patent applications were filed by innovators worldwide in 2015. Chinese innovators filed the most patent applications (1,010,406) in 2015, followed by innovators from the United States of America (526,296) and Japan (454,285), the report showed.