• Boolean IP Team

Biotechnology showed its highest patent filing in last five years in EPO’s latest Annual Report for

Europe stays an attractive leading technology market in the recently published Annual Report for 2017 by EPO. For the first time EPO published more than 100,000 granted European patents. USA showed a maximum number of European patent filings per country of origin followed by Japan and China. In 2017, European patent filings included more than 68 000 direct European filings (Direct) and around 242 700 PCT international filings (PCT). The percentage of PCT international filings has increased over the past five years.

The below chart shows the filing route trend for last 5 years.

The below chart shows the geographic origin of the European patent filings in last 5 years.

“In terms of patents, 2017 was a positive year for Europe,” said EPO President Benoît Battistelli. “The growing demand for European patents confirms Europe’s attractiveness as a leading technology market. European companies, too, filed for more patents than ever before – evidence of their strength in innovation, and of their confidence in our services. The EPO has successfully responded to the sustained with efficiency measures that have increased production, productivity, and timeliness. At the same time, we have enhanced the quality of our products and services. The EPO’s staff should be commended for their outstanding efforts in 2017, which led to the Office’s best results ever.”

Overall, the European Patent Office received nearly 166,000 European patent applications in 2017, an increase of +3.9% compared to 2016 and a new record number. There was strong growth again in applications from China (+16.6%), which overtook Switzerland to make it into the top five countries for the first time, along with the U.S., Germany, Japan, and France (see below).

For the first time in the history of the EPO, a Chinese company, Huawei, filed the most European patent applications last year. Siemens moved up from sixth place to second, followed by LG, Samsung and Qualcomm. The top 10 list of applicants was made up of four companies from Europe, three from the U.S., two from Korea and one from China.

In terms of technical fields, Medical Technology related patent filings have been highest at the EPO overall (up +6.2%), followed by Digital communication and Computer technology. The strongest growth (of the top 10 fields) was recorded in Biotechnology (+14.5%), followed by Pharmaceuticals (+8.1%) and Measurement (+6.6%). Also, it is noteworthy that Biotechnology showed its most filings in 2017 in the last five years.

The below chart shows the number of European patent applications filed with the EPO for the ten technology fields with the largest number of applications in 2017. In 2017, these top ten fields represented 53% of the total number of European applications filed.

The below chart shows filing trend for patents in biotechnology fields in last 5 years. This field encompasses peptides, microbiology and genetic engineering. Included in the field are, for example, genetically modified organisms, brewing of beers, preparation of wine and vinegar.

In Biotechnology related patents, Hoffmann-La Roche AG a Swiss multinational healthcare company, filed most number of patents 207 followed by DSM and Novozymes. Please see the below chart showing top 10 applicants in biotechnology.

For detailed statistics and a review of EPO activities in 2017, see the EPO’s Annual Report at: www.epo.org/annual-report2017

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