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GENEVA (Kyodo) Japan filed more patent applications than any other country in 2004, the World Intellectual Property Organization said Monday in its first comprehensive report on global patent applications.

About 1.6 million applications were filed worldwide in 2004. Japan topped the list with about 540,100, followed by the U.S. with around 346,300 and South Korea with about 157,600, the U.N. agency said.

Japanese firms and individuals made around 368,400 patent applications in Japan and about 137,800 elsewhere, and around 33,900 applications were filed under WIPO’s Patent Cooperation Treaty, it said.

By filing one international patent application under the PCT, protection of an invention can be sought simultaneously in several countries.

The Japan Patent Office accepted the largest number of patents, with around 420,000, followed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, with about 360,000, WIPO said.

According to the agency, 75 percent of applications filed around the world were accepted in Japan, the United States, Europe, South Korea and China. Patent applications in South Korea and China are on the rise, it added.

The latest WIPO report is the first of its kind. The agency has been releasing data on international patent applications made under the PCT. PCT-based figures released in February put the U.S. atop the 2005 application list.

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