Munich, 23 March 2012 -- Despite the financial crisis affecting Europe, the European Patent Office (EPO) experienced a new all-time record of 244 000 patents filings in 2011 (+3,7%).
If Asian companies continued to gain ground, with their share rising to 33% (2010: 30%), European companies maintained their leadership in patent protection in their home market. 38% of the patent filings at the EPO originated from its member states, Germany alone accounting for 14%. With 24% of the EPO filings, the US remained the largest country of origin of European filings.
"The list of the top applicants reflects the continued investment of European companies in research and innovation, with five European companies figuring among the list of the Top 10 filers in 2011", said EPO President Benoît Battistelli. "As the EPO's top applicant, Siemens is exemplary for supporting its innovations - in a wide range of fields from medical technology and energy through to transport and clean energy - with a sustainable patent strategy."
"I am very proud of this achievement - it is proof of the innovation capacity of our employees. Innovations secure our position amongst the international competition and create jobs" said Peter Löscher, CEO of Siemens after receiving the Top Patent Applicant Certificate 2011.
Apart from Siemens (2 235 applications), the EPO counts four other European companies among its top ten applicants, namely Philips (1 759), BASF (1 638), Bosch (1 192) and Ericsson (1 148).
Medical technology was the leading technical field with 9 351 applications in 2011. Since 2001, the number of EPO filings in that field has doubled. Other technical fields showing an increase were electrical machinery, apparatus and energy (8 550 applications), computer technology (7 561 applications), and digital communications (7 161 applications). The strongest decline in comparison to the previous year was in the fields of pharmaceuticals and telecommunications.
The application and grant figures not only bear witness to Europe's ability to attract innovation and investment from all over the world; they also demonstrate how the consistent quality assurance provided by the EPO pays off in international comparison.
For the whole of 2011, the EPO granted 62 115 European patents, 7% more than in 2010.
The European Patent Office (EPO) is one of the largest European institutions with almost 7 000 employees. Its headquarters are in Munich and it has offices in Berlin, Brussels, The Hague and Vienna. The EPO was founded with the aim of strengthening co-operation between the European states in the field of invention protection. Through the EPO's centralised patent granting procedure, inventors are able to obtain patent protection in the 38 member states of the European Patent Organisation.
Mr Oswald Schröder
Tel: +49 (0)89 2399-1800
Mobile: +49 (0)163 8399668
Mr Rainer Osterwalder
European Patent Office
Tel: +49 (0)89 2399-1820
Mobile: +49 (0)163 8399527