Legal information provider Sweet and Maxwell said that was a 19 percent increase over the 11,974 filings in 2011, the BBC said.
Different countries have different charges for patent filing, which start at $361 in Britain.
High-profile patent wars between tech giants, such as those engaged in by Apple and Samsung, may have contributed to the increase in filings, one expert said.
"Everybody in the high-tech industry is picking up their patenting, but we are also seeing that litigation is slowing people down," intellectual property lawyer Gwylim Roberts said.
"We didn't see litigation for a long time and suddenly it began," he said. "I personally think it might be peaking at the moment -- it's now starting to get in the way of business objectives."
While patents give companies exclusivity and protection for their products and ideas, Roberts said, they also make cooperation possible.
"The reason mobile devices by different manufacturers and networks can talk to each other is because of enormous co-operations -- and they were made possible by patents," he said.