European Patent Office

In 2018 the European Patent Office received 174,317 European patent applications, a healthy 4.6% increase on the previous year. Of this figure, a record-high 127,625 patents were granted. The top five countries by filing numbers remained unchanged from 2017 – the United States, Germany, Japan, France and China, in that order. However, a new company sits atop the applicants list: German conglomerate Siemens submitted just eight more patent applications in 2018 than last year’s number one filer, Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei. Broken down by technical field, the figures show notable increases in the number of patent applications for pharmaceuticals (up 13.9% from 2017), biotechnology (+12.1%) and measurement instruments (+9.3%). These are counterbalanced by a reduction in basic communications process (-10.3%), organic fine chemistry (-3.6%) and machine tools (-2.4%) patent applications.