With about 166,000 patent applications in 2017, the European Patent and Trademark Office (EPO) has set a new record. The figures in the annual report confirm Europe’s role as a leading tech market. The company with the most applications comes for the first time from China.
After stagnation in 2016: 3.9% more patent applications in 2017
In 2017, the European Patent Office (EPO) received approximately 166,000 European patent applications – a new record high. A total of 106,000 of the patent applications were granted, representing an increase of 10.1% compared to 2016.
The most active countries in 2017 were the US (+ 5.8%), Germany (+ 1.9%), Japan (+ 3.5%), France (+ 0.5%) and China (+ 16.6%). China overtakes Switzerland and enters the top five for the first time. Overall, 47% of the applications came from the 38 EPO member states. The US continues to be the country with the most applications (26% of all patent applications).
The strongest increase in the number of European patent applications was recorded by Turkey, with an enormous growth of + 74.9%. South Korea, on the other hand, filed -8.2% fewer applications to the EPO in 2017.
Most applications in the field of medical technology
With + 6.2%, medical technology continues to be the field with the most patent applications (13 090). In second and third place, digital communication and computer technology continue to follow. Significantly fewer patents than in the previous year were filed in the transport sector (-4.2%). Whereas in biotechnology (+ 14.5%) and pharmacy (+ 8.1%), there were considerably more registrations than in the previous year.
|Rank||Technical Fields||Patent Applications||Change(%)|
|1||Medical technology||13 090||+6.2%|
|2||Digital communication||11 694||+5.7%|
|3||Computer technology||11 174||+4.1%|
|4||Electr. machinery, apparatus, energy||10 402||+3,2%|
|7||Organic fine chemistry||6 462||+4.3%|
|10||Other special machines||5 548||+0.4%|
Huawei with the most registrations in Europe
With Huawei in 2017, for the first time a Chinese company has filed the most patents with the EPO. Siemens jumps from 6th to 2nd place in the ranking with an increase in the number of applications by + 18.7%. Qualcomm is the US company with the most patents filed in Europe (1 854 applications). Ericsson debuts in the top 10 after an increase of + 16.1%.
In total 69% of applications are from large companies, the remaining 31% are distributed among SMEs, individual inventors, universities and public research organizations.
|2||Siemens||EPO Mitglied||2 220||+18.7%|
|4||Samsung||Süd Korea||2 016||-13.0%|
|6||Royal Philips||Niederlande||1 733||-1.9%|
|7||United Technologies||USA||1 719||-16.8%|
|9||Robert Bosch||EPO Mitglied||1 412||+6.4%|
|10||Ericsson||EPO Mitglied||1 373||+16.1%|
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Text: EPO Jahresbericht 2017