17 January 2012
In 2011, despite the economic and financial crisis, the EPO received 243 000 applications, 3% up on the 2010 record figure of 237 500. It granted 62 115 patents, 7% more than in 2010.
As regards the filings' geographical origin, the main trends observed in recent years continue. First, a clear majority (62% of all 2011 filings) came from non-European countries (up slightly from 61% in 2010). Globally, the shift towards Asia continues: whilst Europe's share was virtually unchanged, the USA's fell to 24% (from 26% in 2010), but both China's and Japan's increased (to 7% and 19% from 5% and 18% respectively).
Among European countries, Germany filed the most (14%), followed by France (5%), then Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands (3% each). Amongst the big emerging economies, there were substantial increases from a fairly low base: 13.1% for India, 26.2% for Russia and 11.3% for Brazil.
"I am pleased to see that R&D investment held up well last year, despite the financial crisis. Continued patent filings growth and the high percentage of non-European applicants are clear evidence of great confidence in Europe as a place for business", says EPO President Benoît Battistelli. "The EPO will continue to play a leading role in the global patent system".
These are preliminary figures. In March, the EPO will present detailed figures on trends in individual industries and EPO member states.