The European Patent Office recently released its Annual Report for 2013, and has announced that European Patent filings have once again increased year on year. In 2013, there were a total of 265,690 European patent filings, up 2.8 per cent from 2012. 77 per cent of these filings were international filings under the Patent Cooperation Treaty, a route that continues to become more popular.
Once again, the US and Japan produced the greatest numbers of European patent filings, with 24 per cent and 20 per cent respectively of the total. Whilst the US and Japan showed moderate growth, filings from China rose 16.2 per cent to constitute eight per cent of the total, and filings from the Republic of Korea rose 14 per cent to make up six per cent of the total. Of the European countries, Germany continues to produce the greatest number of filings with 12 per cent of the total.
Medical technology was the most common technical field of European applications, with a two per cent increase in applications. Growth of four to five per cent was seen in the fields of electrical machinery or energy, computer technology and transport.
In a new measure, the EPO report now gives statistics on the inventiveness of countries, by showing the number of European applications per million inhabitants. Switzerland is comfortably at the top of the table for 2013, with 832 applications per million inhabitants. The Nordic countries also perform well, with Sweden, Finland and Denmark next on the table.
Samsung is once again the top applicant, with an impressive 2,833 European applications, up 24 per cent from the year before. LG was fourth in this ranking, with 1,648 European applications. Between them, the two companies produce more than 70 per cent of the applications from South Korea. At second and third in the table were Siemens and Philips, with Philips showing a particularly strong growth of 59 per cent on 2012. It is interesting to note that applications from SMEs, universities and public research bodies made up more than one third of the total European applications in 2013.
The number of granted Patents, searches performed, and examinations and oppositions completed have all increased over 2012, with a total of 66,712 Patents being granted in 2013. The number of international searches performed grew by seven per cent, which is in part spurred by the increase in popularity of the PCT route.
Overall, the number of European Patent filings has increased for the fourth year in a row, and now stands more than 25 per cent higher than in 2009. This is matched by a similar growth in the number of European Patents being granted.