The UN's intellectual property agency says China racked up a record 1.3 million patent applications last year, topping the combined total in the U.S., Japan, Korea and Europe.
The World Intellectual Property Organization says innovators worldwide filed 3.1 million patent applications in 2016, up 8.3 percent from a year earlier, marking the seventh-straight yearly increase.
China alone accounted for 98 percent of that increase, with its patent office receiving 236,600 more applications than in 2015.
Releasing WIPO's annual intellectual property report Wednesday, Director-General Francis Gurry cited the "extraordinary growth numbers" that epitomize the trend of recent years.
WIPO said trademark applications shot up by 16 percent to about 7 million, and worldwide industrial design applications increased by 10.4 percent to almost 1 million, again led by growth in China.