Patent applications from China grew by 8.8 percent in 2018 to 9,401 cases, the largest number received so far, according to the European Patent Office (EPO) Annual Report for 2018 published on Tuesday.
European patent applications filed by Chinese companies saw a more than six-fold increase between 2008 and 2018, making China among the five most active countries in terms of patent applications with the EPO.
In 2018, Huawei was the most active applicant in digital communication and No. 2 among all companies of all technology fields, according to the report.
The top four technology fields with the most patent applications from China were digital communication, computer technology, electrical machinery, apparatus, and energy as well as telecommunications.
Twenty percent of all patent applications at the EPO in digital communication came from China in 2018, making China the second largest applicant in that field, with the United States claiming a bigger share (26 percent) and Japan (12 percent) ranking third.
With a 62 percent growth, biotechnology became the fastest growing field in China in 2018, followed by organic fine chemistry and medical technology, which both registered a growth of 32 percent.
"The impressive growth in patent applications over the past decade and its continued growth at a high level last year reflect China's efforts in promoting research and development exemplifying its innovation-driven economy," said EPO President Antonio Campinos.
The EPO received 174,317 patent applications in 2018, an increase of 4.6 percent compared to 2017. The United States remained the top applicant, followed by Germany, Japan, France and China.