European Patent Office

Thanks largely to an increase in filing volumes from China, the United States and South Korea, patent applications hit an all-time high at the European Patent Office (EPO) in 2019, with 181,000 filings made. This represents a 4% increase on the previous year – a slightly smaller increase than those seen in 2017 and 2018. EPO states still filed some 45% of the total number of applications, demonstrating that – despite growing interest from the United States and Asia – the European market remains vital to global technological innovation. Digital communication has become the leading technical sector in which applications are filed, with a massive 19.6% rise. Other technical areas which have seen an increase include basic communication processes (+13.9%), computer technology (+10.2%), materials and metallurgy (+10.2%), and general consumer goods (+10.5%). Conversely, marked decreases are apparent in areas such as nanotechnology (-9.5%), engines, pumps, and turbines (-3.9%), and civil engineering (-2.3%). When looking at country of origin, the United States was the highest overall filer of applications; while Switzerland holds the top spot per capita.