Figures point to record patent filings in Europe

Patent filings at the European Patent Office grew by 2.8 per cent to a new record of 265,000 in 2013 with filings from European member states increasing by 6.3 per cent.

The total number of patent filings made to the European Patent Office from European member states was 93,600, representing 35.3 per cent of the overall total.

Growth in filings from Asia also continued in 2013, with China (+16 per cent) and South Korea (+14 per cent) reporting particularly strong increases.

Germany has consolidated its position as the largest patent filing country in the EU followed by France, Switzerland and the Netherlands. The UK ranks as the fifth largest filer in the EU and its overall share of filings (two per cent) remained the same as the previous year.

Medical technology attracted the highest number of filings and for the first time EU companies filed more applications than those in the US. European filings were also strong in the automotive and aerospace sectors.

In a statement, Karl Barnfather, chairman of patent and trade mark attorneys Withers & Rogers said: ‘It is great to see that European patent filings are maintaining the strong levels of growth that were evident in 2012 – especially given the dip in filings in 2011. Investment in innovation throughout multiple sectors is a crucial aspect of ensuring that the EU builds on its prosperity in the long term.

‘It is no surprise that Far Eastern countries like China and South Korea are filing such a significant increase in patent applications, given the ongoing global demand for products in the consumer electronics and manufacturing sectors and the need to protect this innovation. Furthermore, respect for patent protection and patent law has grown significantly in these countries and this has undoubtedly played a part in helping to maintain and build on their share of filings in 2013.’