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China overtakes US as leader in international patent filings

Four-decade American streak ends while Huawei retains corporate crown

China's Huawei Technologies boosted R&D investment by 30% last year.   © Reuters

GENEVA -- China surpassed the U.S. last year to lead the world in international patent applications for the first time, while telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies topped the list of companies for a third straight year, the World Intellectual Property Organization said Tuesday.

Total patent applications in 2019 through WIPO's international filing system grew 5% to an all-time high of 265,800, with 52% coming from Asia and 23% each from Europe and North America. Businesses from China, Japan and South Korea accounted for 60% of the top 50 corporate filers, underscoring the region's status as a global driver of innovation.

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