Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) became the first Asian company to top the list of patent applicants at the European Patent Office.
Samsung filed 2,251 requests for patent protection last year, followed by 2,193 from Siemens AG (SIE) and 1,713 applications by BASF SE (BAS), the Munich-based patent office said in statement today. The EPO is the only place in Europe where companies can apply for region-wide patent protection. The office isn’t part of the EU and has 38 member states.
“The patent filings of today are shaping the innovations of tomorrow,” Benoit Battistelli, the EPO’s president, said in the statement. “In 2012, the steepest growth in patent filings and more than half of the increase came from Asian firms.”
Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung is engaged in a global patent fight with Apple (AAPL) Inc. over tablet computers and smartphones. The companies are using litigation as part of a strategy to seek dominance of a mobile-device market estimated by researcher Yankee Group at $346 billion in 2012, even as Apple remains one of Samsung’s biggest customers.
Overall, the EPO received 5.2 percent more patent applications in 2012 than in 2011, amounting to 257,744 filings last year in total.
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