The recently published 2015 annual report of the European Patent Office (EPO) showed that among a total of 160,000 patent applications filed at EPO in 2015, which included Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) filings that entered the European regional phase and direct European filings under the European Patent Convention (EPC), 5,721 applications came from mainland China. Compared with 4,680 applications in the previous year, China's filings of European patent applications saw a strong growth of 22.2%.
For ranking by filing volume at EPO during the year, the top five companies were Philips (2,402 applications), Samsung (2,366 applications), LG (2,091 applications), Huawei (1.953 applications), and Siemens (1,894 applications), whereas the top three technical fields were medical technology (12,474 applications), digital communication (10,762 applications), and computer technology (10,549 applications). For mainland China, digital communication continued to be the dominant technical field, which accounted for 36% of its patent applications with EPO during the year.
In terms of European patent applications that counted in PCT filings under international phase and direct European filings under the EPC, which amounted to 279,000 for the year, filings from mainland China reached 31,504, representing 11% of the total. This rendered China the fourth after the US (65,754 applications, 24% of the total), Japan (50,597 applications, 18% of the total), and Germany (31,670 applications, 11% of the total).