China Ranks No.1 in Patent Filings Growth in Europe

Benoȋt Battistelli (pictured), President of European Patent Office (EPO), presented EPO’s 2014 annual report at a press conference in Brussels, claiming the total patent filings grew 3.1% year-on-year to 274,174 in 2014, the highest number ever.

According to EPO, China registered the highest year-on-year growth (18.2%) in patent filings in 2014. The filings from the US increased significantly by 6.8% over 2013, from a very high volume of filings already. Korea maintained its growth, albeit at a much slower rate (+2.3%), in contrast to Japan which – in spite of a high volume of filings – showed a decrease of 4.4%.

In European region, the 1.2% growth in the volume of filings coming from the 38 EPO member states in 2014 was based on varied trends in individual countries. There was major growth in filings from the Netherlands (+9.1%), the UK (+4.8%) and France (+4%), and also some countries with lower filing levels such as Poland (+21.5%), Slovenia (+12.6%), Portugal (+7.6%), Turkey (+6.2%) and Austria (+4.5%). A stable development was noted from Denmark (+2%), Belgium (+1.8%), Italy (+0.5%), Sweden (0%) and Germany (-0.8%). There was a drop in the number of filings from Finland (-9.3%), Switzerland (-3.1%), Spain (-2.1%).

An EPO’s analysis in 2014 shows that 30% of applications came from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). About 6% of the applications were filed by universities or research institutes, 64% came from large firms.

Speaking at RT Imaging Summit Europe, industry consultant Steve Weedon shared a history of patents revealing China only joined the 187-member World Intellectual Patent Organisation (WIPO) in 1980, but now leads the world in patent, trademark and industrial design filings. In fact more imaging aftermarket patents exist in China today than the rest of the world, combined!

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