12/20/2011 07:08 EST | Updated 02/19/2012 05:12 EST

UN patent filings stage comeback in 2010 led by US, Chinese innovation

GENEVA - The U.N. patent agency says the U.S. and China led a strong comeback in the number of patent and trademark filings worldwide, signs of businesses setting the stage for growth despite global financial turmoil.

The World Intellectual Property Organization, or WIPO, says there were a record number of patent applications worldwide in 2010, at 1.98 million, up 7.2 per cent from a year earlier. There were 3.66 million trademark filings, up 11.8 per cent.

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry on Tuesday attributed the rise to the "knowledge economy" and globalization led by U.S. and Chinese innovation.

Patent and trademark filings fell in 2009 — the first such downturn since 1978 — as companies hit by global economic downturn sought fewer new protections on intellectual property.