European Patent Office Sets Record

In 2012, the European Patent Office (EPO) received 258 000 patent applications. This represents a 5.7% increase over 2011 (244 000) and sets a new record. In the same year, the EPO published 65 700 granted patents, 5.8% more than in 2011 (62 115).

As far as the origin of filings is concerned, the trends observed in recent years persisted. With 63% of the filings, a clear majority came from non-European countries (2011: 62%), while the share from the 38 EPO member states was 37% (2011: 38%). The top five positions in 2012 are once again held by the US (24.7%), Japan (19.9%), Germany (13.4%), China (7.3%) and Korea (5.5%). Globally, Asian firms continued to fuel the growth in filings: more than half of the increase comes from Japan, China and Korea combined. After a stabilisation in 2011, US companies reached a new record with 63 777 filings, reinforcing their number one position. For Europe, following Germany as number three in the top five, the ranking is stable, with France in sixth place (4.6%), ahead of Switzerland (seventh: 3.2%), the UK (eighth: 2.6%) and the Netherlands (ninth: 2.5%). In absolute numbers, all of these EPO countries saw an increase in filings.