Patent filings – new record at European Patent Office in 2011

• 243 000 incoming applications up 3% on 2010

• filing levels -  stabilisation in Europe; global shift towards Asia

Munich, 17 January 2012 --  In 2011, despite the economic and financial crisis, the European Patent Office (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".

Figures for the 50 main countries filing European patent applications can be found here.

Note to editors

These are preliminary figures. In March, the EPO will present detailed figures on trends in individual industries and EPO member states.


Oswald Schröder
European Patent Office
Tel: +49 (0)89 2399-1800
Mobile: +49 (0)163 8399668  

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