Statistics from the Annual Report of European Patent Office (EPO), released today, reveal that patent filings at the EPO reached record levels in 2012. The figures published today also detail the countries which European patent applications originated from last year and the most active patent filing companies.

According to the Report, the EPO received 257,744 patent filings from all over the world in 2012, compared to 244,934 in 2011. The five most active countries were the US (which counted for 24.6% of filings), Japan (20.1%), Germany (13.3%), China (7.3%), and Korea (5.6%).

Bob Naismith, UK Managing Partner at Marks & Clerk, comments:

“The increase in European patent applications last year is encouraging news for business here in the UK and the rest of Europe. After a post-2008 dip, when R&D budgets were scaled back and fewer inventions were being protected, we are seeing a steady increase in patent filings, which have now surpassed pre-crisis levels.

“It comes as little surprise that the growth in patent filings by European and US companies is less than by Asian companies. The growth of economies like China is no longer headline news, and it is well known that companies in China, South Korea and Japan are very keen to protect their innovations here in Europe. This is a trend that we are seeing in terms of referrals from our Asian network of offices into our European network.”

Although the Asian share of European patent filings grew from 2011 to 2012, last year saw an increase of over 5% in European patent filings by European organisations between 2011 and 2012. The amount of European patents filed by UK companies grew by 3.3%, which represents greater growth than in many other European countries, including France and Germany. Companies from these two countries have traditionally filed more patents in Europe than their UK counterparts.