Although the number of patent applications originating from the 39 European Patent Organisation countries (83 955) was at the same level as in 2021 (83 894, +0.1%), their share of the total shrunk by a further percentage point to just below 44%. The growing share of applications to the EPO originating from outside Europe highlights the attractiveness of the European technology market for companies from around the world.
In terms of technology trends, patent applications from the US were up sharply in digital communication and electrical machinery/apparatus/energy. European companies filed fewer applications in digital communication, but considerably more applications in computer technology, medical technology and biotechnology. Patent applications from China grew in most major technology fields.
Europe country trends: German companies file fewer applications; Ireland, Switzerland and Belgium post strong growth
Patent applications from companies in Germany, Europe's leading country in terms of patent applications, dropped by 4.7% last year, largely due to declines in areas such as transport (which includes automotive), electrical machinery/apparatus/energy and organic fine chemistry. Applications from most other leading European patent filing countries were up, including France (+1.9%), Switzerland (+5.9%) and the Netherlands (+3.5%). Among other European countries with over 1 000 applications per year, the strongest growth came from Ireland (+12.3%), Belgium (+5.0%) and Austria (+3.4%). With respect to patent applications per capita, Switzerland was again the leader, followed by some of the Nordic countries (see graph Patent applications per million inhabitants).