Almost 50,000 patent applications were filed at the German Patent Office (DPMA) last year, making it a record year.
“The record for the year speaks for itself,” said DPMA president Cornelia Rudloff-Schäffer in a statement.
“That the ever rising number of patents registered in previous years was outdone in 2016 shows the trust placed by inventors in our intellectual property protection.”
But the patent applications were spread remarkably unevenly throughout the country.
While in the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg there were 132 patents registered for every 100,000 inhabitants, in poor northeastern Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, 7 patents were registered for every 100,000 inhabitants.
Bavaria was a close second to its neighbour in the south, with 124 patents registered per 100,000 inhabitants.
But all the other states were lagging miles behind, with Hamburg a distant third (44 patents per 100,000 inhabitants).
Petra Knüfermann, spokeswoman for the DPMA, explained to The Local that the reason for Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg beating out the other states by such a distance is quite simple.
“The two southern states a have the car industry, centred in Stuttgart and Munich, and a large proportion of the patents are registered by that sector," Knüfermann said.
She pointed out that Stuttgart-based carmaker Daimler was the company which registered the third largest number of patents in 2016, while Munich’s BMW was also high up the list.
Electronics and automotive parts firms Bosch and Schaeffler Technologies were the two companies which registered the most patents last year, and are headquartered in Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria respectively.
“Hobby inventors registered less than 10 percent of the total number, " Knüfermann added, "but they were spread out across Germany.”