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Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. obtained more patents in Japan in 2006 than any other corporate entity, a government agency said in its annual report Tuesday.

Matsushita, maker of Panasonic-brand consumer electronics goods, obtained 4,193 patents. Toshiba Corp., one of the country’s biggest electrical machinery makers, came in second with 2,872, followed by leading printer manufacturer Seiko Epson Corp. with 2,602, the Japan Patent Office said.

It is the first time the office has published such data.

The number of applications by Japanese entities for overseas patents has been increasing, with the figure in China doubling over the last four years to about 32,000, the office said.

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