The European Patent Office (EPO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) have both recently published patent filing figures for 2018. Here’s a snapshot of what they reveal…

During 2018, patent applications at the EPO grew at a faster rate than the previous three years, up 4.6% from 166,594 to 174,317.

Globally, the US continues to be in pole position as the most prolific applicant.

However, South Korea has shown the largest growth among the most active filing nations, increasing their European patent applications by 13% during 2018.


Surge in Danish EPO filings

Germany is leading the way in Europe as the largest applicant nation, by a significant margin. Thanks to significant growth in applications, Sweden and Denmark have secured the seventh and eight positions respectively. While there was a 7.1% uplift in filings from Sweden, Denmark – a country known for its IP-centric government policy – saw the most significant growth of any European country, with 14.4% more filings.

When looking at the number of applications in relation to a nation’s population, Sweden and Denmark are, in fact, leading the way in Europe, filing more patent applications per million inhabitants that Germany did in 2018.

Pursuing global markets…

International filings – known as PCT applications - have also increased. Estimated figures from the WIPO for 2018, which will be finalised later in the year, suggest growth in applications of 3.9% to 253,000.

The US has filed the most PCT applications - 56,142

However, China is close behind with 53,345 applications and an estimated growth of 9.1%

Denmark and Sweden also saw growth in their PCT applications, but this time it is a Swedish surge, with an uplift of 4.7%, while the Danes saw more modest gains of 0.9%.

The UK also put in a solid performance, with an increase of 1.3% in 2018