European Patent Office (EPO) 2012 Annual Results: US are No. 1 Country in Patent Filings with European Patent Office

Mar 06, 2013, 09:00 ET from European Patent Office (EPO)

BRUSSELS, March 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

  • 24.6% of all European patent filings originate from US
  • Europe's regional share is 36.5%
  • Recovery: 5.6% growth in 2012 after a dip in 2011 (-1.1%),
  • US companies lead in Medical technology
  • Strong position in Pharmaceuticals, Biotech, IT
  • General Electric and Qualcomm biggest patent filers from US

The US confirmed their clear No. 1 position as nation to file for European patents in 2012. US companies accounted for almost a quarter of all filings with the European Patent Office (EPO), 63.504 in total, a growth of 5.6% compared to 2011, in which the number of US patent filings had receded by 1.1%.

Last year, the EPO received a total of 257 744 patent filings from all over the world. This represents a 5.2% increase over 2011 (244 934) and sets a new record.

"The patent filings of today are shaping the innovations of tomorrow", EPO President Benoît Battistelli said today at the presentation of the 2012 EPO Annual Results in Brussels. "In 2012, the US confirmed their position as the most active country in patent filing activities."

The top five countries in 2012 were the US (24.6%), Japan (20.1%), Germany (13.3%), China (7.3%), and Korea (5.6%). With 63.5% of the filings, the majority of European patent filings again came from countries outside of the 38 member states of the European Patent Organisation (2011: 62%).

Medical technology again was the field with most applications, and was dominated by US firms with 42%, followed by Europe with 38%. Johnson & Johnson is on top of the company ranking in Medical technology, with Covidien following on 3rd, Medtronic 5th, Boston Scientific on 7th and Cook on 8th position among the top ten applicants in the field.

With a share of more than a third of all patent applications, US companies filed large numbers of applications in three further leading technologies: Computers technology (37% of all patent applications, with Microsoft ranked 2nd behind Samsung, and Apple ranked 5th behind RIM), Pharmaceuticals (36%, with Merck ranked 4th and Johnson&Johnson ranked 5th), and Biotech (35%, with DuPont ranked 3rd and Abbott Laboratories ranked 7th).

Overall, the US companies with the most patent applications at EPO in 2012 were General Electric, ranked 4th, with 1.702 applications, and Qualcomm, ranked 7th, with 1.381 applications. Most applications came from Samsung, followed by Siemens and BASF.

About the EPO

With almost 7 000 employees, the EPO is one of the largest European public service institutions. Its headquarters are in Munich and it also has offices in Berlin, Brussels, The Hague and Vienna. The EPO was founded with the aim of strengthening co-operation between the European states in the field of patents. Through the EPO's centralised patent granting procedure, inventors are able to obtain patent protection in the 38 member states of the European Patent Organisation.

Press contact:

Oswald Schröder
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Rainer Osterwalder
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European Patent Office
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Axel Schafmeister
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SOURCE European Patent Office (EPO)