Presenting its 2017 report on Wednesday, the European Patent Office said it had received a total of 166,000 applications in the course of last year, marking a 3.9-percent increase from a year earlier and the highest ever annual number of filings recorded in the office's history.
EPO President Benoit Battistelli said the rising demand for European patents confirmed "the continent's attractiveness as a leading technology market."
Most 2017 applications came from the US, followed by Germany, Japan, France and China, EPO statistics showed.
The latest annual report said the medical technology sector saw the steepest increase in patent filings, with applications surging by 6.2 percent year on year.
While some Asian nations such as China and South Korea were found to have filed the most patents in some specific areas, such as information and communications technology, companies in European nations and the United States increasingly focused on AI solutions and autonomous driving technology.
For the first time, a Chinese company — Huawei — took the crown as the firm with the most patent applications in 2017.
Germany's engineering giant Siemens made the biggest leap, moving up four notches to second position, followed by LG and Samsung.
/hg/an (AFP, dpa)