Fast-growing Chinese vendor Huawei topped the list of international patent applications in 2008, according to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).
It applied for 1,737 patents, as Chinese and Korean firms filed an extra 12% more patents than 2007.
Chinese firms made some 6,000 patent applications and Korean companies nearly 8,000. However, the US maintained the number one spot, accounting for nearly a third of the applications - over 53,000.
Panasonic filed the second most patents, with 1,729 applications. Japanese inventors filed the second-most patents after the US, and Japanese companies took 28 spots on the list of the top 100 patent filing companies.
WIPO said patent applications grew by just 2.4% in 2008, compared to an average 9.3% growth rate in the previous three years.
Nevertheless, the number of patent applications - nearly 164,000 - was a record.