According to the EPO, the record number of patent grants was the result of productivity and efficiency measures.
US applicants topped the charts with more than 40,000 applications filed in 2016, contributing 25 percent of applications at the EPO, although this figure was down 5.9 percent from 2015.
German applicants followed in second place with 25,000 applications.
There was also a record number of patent applications filed in 2016, with inventors and their representatives lodging 296,000. The EPO said this is “an indicator of the growing demand for patent protection from businesses worldwide”.
Patent applicants were mainly for medical technology, with digital communications and computer technology following closely in second and third.
According to the EPO, Philips, Huawei, Samsung, LG and United Technologies dominated applications.
The EPO said that the rise in applications was partly due to new working practices of expediting grants on applications, which are already in good order at an early stage.