Düsseldorf, 25 March 2019 – Europe is becoming increasingly attractive as a technology location for innovative companies. This is reflected above all in the growing demand for patent protection. In its annual report 2018, the European Patent Office (EPO) reports more than 174,000 patent application filings, an increase of 4.6 percent compared to the previous year. European applicants account for almost half of the filings. Among the European countries, Germany has the largest share with 15 % (+4.7 % compared to 2017). Companies from the US (25 %) and Japan (13 %) are also very active and are increasingly protecting their innovations in Europe (US: +2.7 %; Japan: +3.9 %).
With almost 14,000 filings, medical technology is the area with the most filings. The EPO reports growth of 5 percent compared to the previous year. The trend is also clearly upwards in other fields of technology, such as digital communication, computer technology, electrical machinery, apparatus, energy, and transport. The strongest growth is in the pharmaceutical industry, where the number of filings rose by 13.9 percent to almost 7,500.
Among all patent applications filed with the EPO in 2018, small and medium-sized enterprises account for a relatively large proportion (20%) of the applications. In addition, universities and public research organizations are well represented with 9 %.
"The EPO's figures show how technology-driven our economy is. This goes hand in hand with a strong awareness of the need for safe protection of technical innovations – also and especially at the European level," says Gottfried Schüll, patent attorney and partner at Cohausz & Florack.