Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin talks with reporters about trade negotiations with China, at the White House, Monday, Dec. 3, 2018, in Washington. (Evan Vucci/Associated Press)

GENEVA — A U.N. agency says China has issued the most international patent applications for an eighth straight year, showing the country’s heft in intellectual property amid U.S. President Donald Trump’s accusation that the growing Asia power steals it.

The World Intellectual Property Organization said Monday that innovators around the world filed a record 3.17 million patents last year, an annual increase of nearly 6 percent.

China’s IP office took in a record 1.38 million patent applications in 2017. The United States, which led the rankings through 2011, was second with nearly 607,000.

Japan was third at some 318,000. South Korea and the European Patent Office rounded out the top five.

Overall, Asia received nearly two-thirds of all patent filings worldwide, up from just under half of filings a decade earlier.

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