Patent applications from China in Europe grew by 9.9 percent in 2020, the highest growth rate among the ten leading patent filing countries despite the impact of COVID-19, the European Patent Office (EPO) said in March.

The increase contrasts with lower patent application numbers from most other leading technology regions. For instance, U.S. firms filed 4.1 percent fewer applications last year than that of 2019, while Europe's patents were down 1.3 percent, and those from Japan decreased by 1.1 percent.

Patents filed from South Korea posted comparably stronger growth, up 9.2 percent, according to the EPO Patent Index 2020.

The top three technology fields with the most patent applications from China were digital communication, which accounted for 26.5 percent of all patent applications at the EPO, computer technology, as well as electrical machinery, apparatus and energy.

Among the leading technical fields across all countries at the EPO, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology showed the biggest increases in terms of patent filings, which increased by 10.2 percent and 6.3 percent respectively, while transport showed the largest drop of 5.5 percent last year.

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