European Patent Office Reports Record Patent Filings In 2012

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The European Patent Office today announced that 2012 saw a new record for patent filings in the office, and equating the rise to Europe’s “innovative powers”. But while 36.5 per cent of applications came from Europe, the fastest growth was in applications from Asia, particularly China, Korea and Japan. Korean firm Samsung took top honours for most filings, the first time for an Asian company, and a Chinese company, ZTE, broke into the top 10 for the first time.

“The growth of filings from European businesses is a clear indication that industry here has opted to innovate its way out of the economic crisis,” said EPO President Benoît Battistelli.

In 2012, the EPO received a total of 257,744 patent filings from around the world, it said, a 5.2 per cent increase over 2011 and a new record.

The top five countries for filings in 2012 were: the United States (24.6 per cent), Japan (20.1 per cent), Germany (13.3 per cent), China (7.3 per cent), and South Korea (5.6 per cent). The top from Europe after Germany were: France (4.7 per cent), Switzerland (3.2 per cent), the United Kingdom (2.6 per cent) and the Netherlands (2.5 per cent).

The top five companies overall were Samsung, Siemens, BASF, General Electric, and LG.

Medical technology was the field with the most applications, dominated by the US (42 per cent) and Europe (38 per cent), the EPO said. European firms also were dominant in transport technology, such as the automotive and aeronautic sectors, as well in measurement, engines, pumps, turbines (such as clean energy), and organic fine chemistry.

US and Asian companies dominated in computers and information technology. “Filings in digital communication were up by more than 20%, by far the highest growth rate of all technologies,” EPO said. This was largely driven by Chinese and also Korean firms. Digital communication accounted for 42 per cent of all patent applications originating from China.

The full report is here.

The EPO press release is here.

William New may be reached at

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