Chinese telecom major Huawei made the highest number of international patent filings in 2014, as China has achieved unprecedented growth in the technology sector in recent times.
Huawei applied for 3,442 patents, well ahead of US chipmaker Qualcomm and Chinese competitor ZTE with 2,409 and 2,179 applications, respectively, according to statistics from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
Japan's Panasonic and Mitsubishi Electric came in at No 3 and No 4.
With 61,492 patent applications, the US was the primary origin of patent applicants ahead of Japan and China that filed 42,459 and 25,539 applications, respectively.
Among the top 10 filing countries, China was the only country to see double-digit growth in 2014, as the country's efforts to foster home-grown innovation appear to pay off.
The total number of patent applications filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty reached a record high of 214,500 in 2014, a 4.5% increase over the previous year, the WIPO added.
The Patent Cooperation Treaty was concluded in 1970 and came into force in 1978. Its aim is to facilitate the acquisition of patents in multiple regions at once, making the filing of multiple national patent applications obsolete.
"The rapid growth in international patent applications underscores the increasing importance of intellectual property as it moves from the periphery to the centre of the global economic system," said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry.
A Statista chart showing top 10 patent filers in 2014 is given below.
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