European patent applications continue to grow

The 2015 annual report of the European Patent Office (EPO) shows that 160 000 European patent applications were filed with the EPO last year. This is an increase with 4.8 percent.

The growth came mainly from companies in the US and China, while applications originating from the 38 EPO member states remained almost unchanged. The top five countries of origin for European patent applications in 2015 were the US, Germany, Japan, France and the Netherlands.

The field with the highest number of applications was medical technology, followed by digital communication and computer technology. The company with the most applications at the EPO was Philips, followed by last year’s top firm Samsung and LG.

Switzerland again topped the applications per capita ranking with 873 per million inhabitants. Second and third place went to the Netherlands (419) and Sweden (392), followed by Finland (365) and Denmark (346). The first non-European country was again Japan in ninth place (169).

In 2015, the EPO published more than 68 000 granted patents, an increase of nearly 6 percent over 2014, and the highest number ever.