In what may be a sign that the European economy is recovering from the recent global financial crisis, the European Patent Office recently announced patent filings reached record levels in 2010, according to the Wall Street Journal.
According to the EPO, a total of 235,000 filings were received during 2010, an increase of approximately 11 percent over 2009. The figure represents the highest number of filings the organization has ever received in a single year.
The European Union is the world's largest consumer market, according to the Wall Street Journal. As a result, many global corporations use the EPO to register patents in the EU.
Benoit Battistelli, president of the EPO, said that, after a slump of two years, "the EU and U.S. are nearly back to their levels of patenting before the crisis."
According to Battistelli, the economic recovery has coincided with a "massive rise in patent applications from Asia, led by China," making 2010 a record year for the EPO.
Founded 34 years ago, the EPO is an alliance made up of the EU's 27 member countries, as well as another 11 neighoring states.