22 Mar Growth in EP applications in 2018 fuelled by European companies
In 2018, businesses and inventors continued to file large numbers of patent applications at the EPO, with the five top filing regions – Europe, the US, Japan, China and the Republic of Korea – all showing increases.
Companies from the EPO member states filed 3.8% more European patent applications in 2018, their strongest growth since 2010. Indeed, European companies accounted for almost 40% of the overall growth in filings – more than China, Japan and the Republic of Korea combined.
Applications from China rose by 8.8%, their lowest rate in the past five years. This was mainly attributable to slower growth in some of the country’s most patent-intensive fields, including computer technology, electrical machinery and energy, and audio-visual technology. US and Japanese companies reported increases of +2.7% and +3.9% respectively in 2018, while the Republic of Korea, boosted by a rise in patent applications in the areas of digital communication, electrical machinery and energy, and computer technology, went up by 13%, reversing its downturn in the previous year (2017: -3.4%).
Notable increases were also seen from countries with lower patent application volumes. For some of these countries, including Singapore (+20.2%), Australia (+16.3%), Russian Federation (+13.4%), Chinese Taipei (+8.9%), Canada (+5.5%) and Israel (+4.9%), the figures continued to climb, confirming that an ever wider range of countries from all regions are making significant use of European patents.