Last Wednesday, the European Patent Office (EPO) has published annual statistical results, concerning the year 2013, on the status of European patent applications.

European patent applicationThe results are encouraging for the future of the “old continent”: in fact, patent applications filed before the EPO grew 2, 8% over the previous year.

Translating this record of European patent applications in numbers: in 2013, 265.690 patent applications were filed, compared to 258,473 in 2012. These data are encouraging and show that, despite the difficult economic- historical period we are facing, the European market is attractive and with great innovative capacity.

“This is proof that companies from around the world continue to see Europe more and more as a premier hub for innovation. The strong position of European companies in patent-intense technologies also underlines the central role these industry sectors play in generating employment and growth in the EU economy.” said the EPO president, Benoit Battistelli.

Around 35% of applications have come from all 38 member states of the EPO, followed by the U.S., Japan, China and South Korea, being these last two the countries with the largest growth in relative terms.

In the companies ranking, the podium goes to the Korean Samsung (2,833 applications only last year), followed by Siemens (1974) and Philips (1839). BASF is in the fifth, Bosh is sixth and Ericsson is tenth among European companies included in the global “top ten”.

The countries with the greatest number of patent applications: USA (24%), Japan (20%), Germany (12%), China (8%), South Korea (6%), France (5%), Switzerland and the Netherlands (3 %) and Sweden and England (2%).

The most active technical fields: medical technology, electrical machinery, digital communication, computer technology and transport.

Registration of European patents in Spain: the situation

Among the “big” of innovation, Spain does not stand out. In fact, patent applications fell 1% (2,526 in 2012 against 2,476 in 2013) and among all EU countries, Spain occupies only the ninth position in terms of patent applications.

Field in which the majority of patents were filed are various and heterogeneous: pharmacy, organic and fine chemicals, biotechnology, digital communications and transportation.
By number of patent applications, the most active entity is Telefonica (114), followed by aerospace company EADS (53) and Alstom (48), Higher Council for Scientific Research (31) and Autonomous University of Barcelona (27).

After analyzing all these data and statistics, we can certainly affirm that R & D and innovation are the key elements for the competitiveness of a country and the rate of innovation is measured precisely in the ability to invent and protect such works of inventiveness.

Despite the delicate economic times we live in, the data show that Europe has great potential, which we hope will flourish thanks to appropriate investment, both public and private, in R & D.

If you want to consult the Annual Report 2013, you can find it on the website of the EPO, and in order to dig a little more on the European Patent concept, I invite you to read the following article: “How to patent in Europe. European patent.