Annual Review 2020

European patent applications

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Total applications

This graph shows the geographic origin of the European patent applications1 filed with the EPO. The geographic origin of the file is determined by the country of residence of the first applicant listed on the application form (first-named applicant principle2).

5 years
10 years
Source: EPO.
Status: 1.2.2021.
1 European patent applications include direct European applications (Direct) and international (PCT) applications that entered the European phase during the reporting period (PCT regional).
2 In cases where several applicants are mentioned on the application form, the country of residence of the first applicant listed applies.
3 EPO states: the 38 member states of the European Patent Organisation, which includes the 27 states of the EU.

European patent applications per country of origin

This graph shows the geographic origin of the European patent applications1 determined by the country of residence of the first applicant listed on the application form (first-named applicant principle2).


Source: EPO.
Status: 1.2.2021.
1 European patent applications include direct European applications and international (PCT) applications that entered the European phase during the reporting period.
2 In cases where several applicants are mentioned on the application form, the country of residence of the first applicant listed applies
3 EPO states: the 38 member states of the European Patent Organisation, which includes the 27 states of the EU.
Top technical fields2

This page shows the number of European patent applications1 filed with the EPO for the ten technology fields2 with the largest number of applications in 2020. In 2020, these top ten fields represented almost 55% of the total number of European applications filed. Each technology field has its own page providing an analysis of the geographic origin of the files. The geographic origin is based on the country of residence of the first applicant listed on the application form (first-named applicant principle3). The pages also rank the largest applicants4 in each field.

Source: EPO.
Status: 1.2.2021.
1 European patent applications include direct European applications and international (PCT) applications that entered the European phase during the reporting period.
2 The definition of the fields is based on the WIPO IPC technology concordance. The table is available at:
http://www.wipo.int/export/sites/www/ipstats/en/statistics/patents/xls/ipc_technology.xls.
3 In cases where several applicants are mentioned on the application form, the country of residence of the first applicant listed applies.
4 This is the ranking in each technology field of the main consolidated applicants at the EPO in 2020 (first-named applicant principle). It is based on European patent applications filed with the EPO in each technology field. It includes direct European applications and international (PCT) applications that entered the European phase. Applications by identifiable subsidiaries, not necessarily located in the same country, are allocated to the consolidated applicants.
Electrical machinery, apparatus, energy

This field encompasses lighting devices, power and electric energy supply systems, basic electric elements and techniques. Some specific examples of technologies in this field are power cables, magnets, relays and x-rays techniques.

Total applications
Top applicants in 20204
  • LG 753
  • SIGNIFY 358
  • ABB 308
  • SIEMENS 249
  • ROBERT BOSCH 215
2020
1. LG 753
2. SIGNIFY 358
3. ABB 308
4. SIEMENS 249
5. ROBERT BOSCH 215
6. SAMSUNG 195
7. CONTEMPORARY AMPEREX 180
8. PANASONIC CORPORATION 172
9. SIEMENS ENERGY 171
10. MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC 139
  Others 8 606
Total applications in this field 11 346
Leading countries in 20203
Leading countries in 2020


2020 vs. 2019
Germany 2 083 +1.1%
France 636 -2.9%
Netherlands 589 -1.3%
Switzerland 535 +4.7%
United Kingdom 278 -8.6%
Other EPO states5 1 136 -11.5%
United States 1 456 -13.0%
Japan 2 009 +4.6%
China, People's Republic of 1 035 +16.3%
Korea, Republic of 1 168 +22.7%
Others 421 -6.9%
Total applications in this field 11 346
Source: EPO.
Status: 1.2.2021.
1 European patent applications include direct European applications and international (PCT) applications that entered the European phase during the reporting period.
2 The definition of the fields is based on the WIPO IPC technology concordance. The table is available at:
http://www.wipo.int/export/sites/www/ipstats/en/statistics/patents/xls/ipc_technology.xls.
3 The geographic origin is based on the country of residence of the first applicant listed on the application form (first-named applicant principle). In cases where several applicants are mentioned on the application form, the country of residence of the first applicant listed applies.
4 This is the ranking in each technology field of the main consolidated applicants at the EPO in 2020 (first-named applicant principle). It is based on European patent applications filed with the EPO in each technology field. It includes direct European applications and international (PCT) applications that entered the European phase. Applications by identifiable subsidiaries, not necessarily located in the same country, are allocated to the consolidated applicants.
5 EPO states: the 38 member states of the European Patent Organisation, which includes the 27 states of the EU.
Medical technology

The field of Medical technology covers medical instruments for diagnosis, treatment of diseases and surgery. Technologies included in this field are, for example, vaccination instruments, prostheses, surgical robots, computed tomography and pacemakers.

Total applications
Top applicants in 20204
  • JOHNSON & JOHNSON" 781
  • MEDTRONIC 567
  • ROYAL PHILIPS 524
  • BOSTON SCIENTIFIC 319
  • BECTON DICKINSON 229
2020
1. JOHNSON & JOHNSON 781
2. MEDTRONIC 567
3. ROYAL PHILIPS 524
4. BOSTON SCIENTIFIC 319
5. BECTON DICKINSON 229
6. SANOFI 179
7. FRESENIUS 136
8. 3M 134
9. FUJIFILM 117
10. EDWARDS LIFESCIENCES 107
  Others 11 202
Total applications in this field 14 295
Leading countries in 20203
Leading countries in 2020


2020 vs. 2019
Germany 1 210 -5.3%
Netherlands 709 -9.2%
France 677 +17.5%
Switzerland 676 -13.1%
United Kingdom 436 +1.6%
Other EPO states5 1 752 +10.0%
United States 5 519 +0.6%
Japan 1 011 +1.2%
China, People's Republic of 414 +34.4%
Korea, Republic of 338 +13.0%
Others 1 553 +10.3%
Total applications in this field 14 295
Source: EPO.
Status: 1.2.2021.
1 European patent applications include direct European applications and international (PCT) applications that entered the European phase during the reporting period.
2 The definition of the fields is based on the WIPO IPC technology concordance. The table is available at:
http://www.wipo.int/export/sites/www/ipstats/en/statistics/patents/xls/ipc_technology.xls.
3 The geographic origin is based on the country of residence of the first applicant listed on the application form (first-named applicant principle). In cases where several applicants are mentioned on the application form, the country of residence of the first applicant listed applies.
4 This is the ranking in each technology field of the main consolidated applicants at the EPO in 2020 (first-named applicant principle). It is based on European patent applications filed with the EPO in each technology field. It includes direct European applications and international (PCT) applications that entered the European phase. Applications by identifiable subsidiaries, not necessarily located in the same country, are allocated to the consolidated applicants.
5 EPO states: the 38 member states of the European Patent Organisation, which includes the 27 states of the EU.
Digital communication

This field encompasses basic electronic circuitry and electronic communication. The field includes, for example, amplifiers, decoders and telegraphic communication.

Total applications
Top applicants in 20204
  • HUAWEI 1 868
  • ERICSSON 1 207
  • QUALCOMM 1 189
  • SAMSUNG 671
  • NOKIA 484
2020
1. HUAWEI 1 868
2. ERICSSON 1 207
3. QUALCOMM 1 189
4. SAMSUNG 671
5. NOKIA 484
6. OPPO6 456
7. SONY 448
8. ZTE 335
9. NTT DOCOMO 324
10. LG 305
  Others 6 835
Total applications in this field 14 122
Leading countries in 20203
Leading countries in 2020


2020 vs. 2019
Sweden 1 275 -0.4%
Germany 716 -4.4%
Finland 466 +36.7%
France 406 0.0%
Netherlands 239 +9.1%
Other EPO states5 531 -71.6%
United States 3 621 -2.2%
Japan 1 375 +10.6%
China, People's Republic of 3 740 +3.9%
Korea, Republic of 1 078 -10.1%
Others 675 +5.0%
Total applications in this field 14 122
Source: EPO.
Status: 1.2.2021.
1 European patent applications include direct European applications and international (PCT) applications that entered the European phase during the reporting period.
2 The geographic origin is based on the country of residence of the first applicant listed on the application form (first-named applicant principle). In cases where several applicants are mentioned on the application form, the country of residence of the first applicant listed applies.
3 The definition of the fields is based on the WIPO IPC technology concordance. The table is available at:
http://www.wipo.int/export/sites/www/ipstats/en/statistics/patents/xls/ipc_technology.xls.
4 This is the ranking in each technology field of the main consolidated applicants at the EPO in 2020. It is based on European patent applications filed with the EPO in each technology field. It includes direct European applications and international (PCT) applications that entered the European phase. Applications by identifiable subsidiaries, not necessarily located in the same country, are allocated to the consolidated applicants.
5 EPO states: the 38 member states of the European Patent Organisation, which includes the 27 states of the EU.
6 Guangdong OPPO Mobile Telecommunications.
Computer technology

This field encompasses computing, calculating and counting devices. It includes, for example, digital computers and data processing systems.

Total applications
Top applicants in 20204
  • SAMSUNG 754
  • MICROSOFT 682
  • INTEL 533
  • ALPHABET 455
  • HUAWEI 409
2020
1. SAMSUNG 754
1. MICROSOFT 682
3. INTEL 533
4. ALPHABET 455
5. HUAWEI 409
6. SONY 279
7. SIEMENS 269
8. MICRON 201
9. ROYAL PHILIPS 176
10. FUJITSU 167
  Others 9 172
Total applications in this field 13 097
Leading countries in 20203
Leading countries in 2020


2020 vs. 2019
Germany 1 093 -2.7%
France 606 +2.9%
United Kingdom 458 -0.2%
Netherlands 385 +0.3%
Sweden 223 -9.3%
Other EPO states5 873 +2.6%
United States 4 816 +0.8%
Japan 1 269 0.0%
China, People's Republic of 1 519 +7.0%
Korea, Republic of 995 +9.2%
Others 860 -1.5%
Total applications in this field 13 097
Source: EPO.
Status: 1.2.2021..
1 European patent applications include direct European applications and international (PCT) applications that entered the European phase during the reporting period.
2 The definition of the fields is based on the WIPO IPC technology concordance. The table is available at:
http://www.wipo.int/export/sites/www/ipstats/en/statistics/patents/xls/ipc_technology.xls.
3 The geographic origin is based on the country of residence of the first applicant listed on the application form (first-named applicant principle). In cases where several applicants are mentioned on the application form, the country of residence of the first applicant listed applies.
4 This is the ranking in each technology field of the main consolidated applicants at the EPO in 2020 (first-named applicant principle). It is based on European patent applications filed with the EPO in each technology field. It includes direct European applications and international (PCT) applications that entered the European phase. Applications by identifiable subsidiaries, not necessarily located in the same country, are allocated to the consolidated applicants.
5 EPO states: the 38 member states of the European Patent Organisation, which includes the 27 states of the EU.
Transport

This field encompasses vehicles, and more specifically vehicle tyres, wheels, windows and roofs, railway systems.

Total applications
Top applicants in 20204
  • CONTINENTAL 210
  • RAYTHEON TECHNOLOGIES 194
  • SIEMENS 192
  • ROBERT BOSCH 178
  • BRIDGESTONE 161
2020
1. CONTINENTAL 210
2. RAYTHEON TECHNOLOGIES 194
3. SIEMENS 192
4. ROBERT BOSCH 178
5. BRIDGESTONE 161
6. AIRBUS 158
7. MAZDA 152
8. VOLKSWAGEN 149
9. BOEING 148
10. GROUPE PSA 136
  Others 7 342
Total applications in this field 9 020
Leading countries in 20203
Leading countries in 2020


2020 vs. 2019
Germany 2 082 -1.4%
France 1 016 +4.6%
Italy 370 -3.1%
Sweden 349 +11.1%
United Kingdom 253 -27.7%
Other EPO states5 1 133 -21.0%
United States 1 314 -21.3%
Japan 1 411 -9.6%
China, People's Republic of 478 +7.9%
Korea, Republic of 196 -17.6%
Others 418 -6.1%
Total applications in this field 9 020
Source: EPO.
Status: 1.2.2021.
1 European patent applications include direct European applications and international (PCT) applications that entered the European phase during the reporting period.
2 The definition of the fields is based on the WIPO IPC technology concordance. The table is available at:
http://www.wipo.int/export/sites/www/ipstats/en/statistics/patents/xls/ipc_technology.xls.
3 The geographic origin is based on the country of residence of the first applicant listed on the application form (first-named applicant principle). In cases where several applicants are mentioned on the application form, the country of residence of the first applicant listed applies.
4 This is the ranking in each technology field of the main consolidated applicants at the EPO in 2020 (first-named applicant principle). It is based on European patent applications filed with the EPO in each technology field. It includes direct European applications and international (PCT) applications that entered the European phase. Applications by identifiable subsidiaries, not necessarily located in the same country, are allocated to the consolidated applicants.
5 EPO states: the 38 member states of the European Patent Organisation, which includes the 27 states of the EU.
Measurement

This field encompasses horology, devices for measuring position and displacement, more specifically clocks and watches, navigation systems, volume, liquid and sound measuring devices.

Total applications
Top applicants in 20204
  • ROBERT BOSCH 180
  • ROYAL PHILIPS 124
  • SIEMENS 110
  • HITACHI 105
  • HONEYWELL 89
2020
1. ROBERT BOSCH 180
2. ROYAL PHILIPS 124
3. SIEMENS 110
4. HITACHI 105
5. HONEYWELL 89
6. RAYTHEON TECHNOLOGIES 87
7. HOFFMAN-LA ROCHE 85
8. SAUDI ARABIAN OIL 79
9. LG 77
10. SONY 74
  Others 7 572
Total applications in this field 8 582
Leading countries in 20203
Leading countries in 2020


2020 vs. 2019
Germany 1 527 -12.3%
France 514 -13.3%
Switzerland 705 -14.4%
Netherlands 376 -12.1%
United Kingdom 296 -1.7%
Other EPO states5 967 -3.8%
United States 1 876 -4.7%
Japan 1 182 +2.8%
China, People's Republic of 376 +3.0%
Korea, Republic of 229 +16.8%
Others 534 +12.2%
Total applications in this field 8 582
Source: EPO.
Status: 1.2.2021.
1 European patent applications include direct European applications and international (PCT) applications that entered the European phase during the reporting period.
2 The definition of the fields is based on the WIPO IPC technology concordance. The table is available at:
http://www.wipo.int/export/sites/www/ipstats/en/statistics/patents/xls/ipc_technology.xls.
3 The geographic origin is based on the country of residence of the first applicant listed on the application form (first-named applicant principle). In cases where several applicants are mentioned on the application form, the country of residence of the first applicant listed applies.
4 This is the ranking in each technology field of the main consolidated applicants at the EPO in 2020 (first-named applicant principle). It is based on European patent applications filed with the EPO in each technology field. It includes direct European applications and international (PCT) applications that entered the European phase. Applications by identifiable subsidiaries, not necessarily located in the same country, are allocated to the consolidated applicants.
5 EPO states: the 38 member states of the European Patent Organisation, which includes the 27 states of the EU.
Organic fine chemistry

This field encompasses organic pure substances, combinatorial chemistry, and preparations for medical, dental and hygiene uses. It includes, for example, steroids, sugars, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and food ingredients.

Total applications
Top applicants in 20204
  • BASF 206
  • UNILEVER 192
  • BAYER 162
  • MERCK & KGAA 98
  • L'OREAL 96
2020
1. BASF 206
2. UNILEVER 192
3. BAYER 162
4. MERCK 98
5. L'OREAL 96
6. HOFFMANN-LA ROCHE 93
7. SYNGENTA 85
8. DSM 81
9. EVONIK 79
10. JOHNSON & JOHNSON 72
  Others 4 741
Total applications in this field 5 905
Leading countries in 20203
Leading countries in 2020


2020 vs. 2019
Germany 1 074 -3.9%
Switzerland 461 +2.4%
France 426 -3.4%
Netherlands 325 -0.9%
United Kingdom 288 +4.3%
Other EPO states5 554 -12.2%
United States 1 346 -8.6%
Japan 497 -7.6%
China, People's Republic of 406 +50.9%
Korea, Republic of 258 +27.7%
Others 270 +0.7%
Total applications in this field 5 905
Source: EPO.
Status: 1.2.2021.
1 European patent applications include direct European applications and international (PCT) applications that entered the European phase during the reporting period.
2 The definition of the fields is based on the WIPO IPC technology concordance. The table is available at:
http://www.wipo.int/export/sites/www/ipstats/en/statistics/patents/xls/ipc_technology.xls.
3 The geographic origin is based on the country of residence of the first applicant listed on the application form (first-named applicant principle). In cases where several applicants are mentioned on the application form, the country of residence of the first applicant listed applies.
4 This is the ranking in each technology field of the main consolidated applicants at the EPO in 2020 (first-named applicant principle). It is based on European patent applications filed with the EPO in each technology field. It includes direct European applications and international (PCT) applications that entered the European phase. Applications by identifiable subsidiaries, not necessarily located in the same country, are allocated to the consolidated applicants.
5 EPO states: the 38 member states of the European Patent Organisation, which includes the 27 states of the EU.
Engines, pumps, turbines

This field encompasses combustion engines, engines and pumps for liquids, eolic energy, nuclear physics and engineering. It covers, for example, gas-turbine plants, pumps and pistons, fusion and nuclear reactors, x-ray microscopes and wind motors.

Total applications
Top applicants in 2016
  • UNITED TECHNOLOGIES 956
  • GENERAL ELECTRIC 700
  • SIEMENS 357
  • ROLLS-ROYCE 207
  • TOYOTA MOTOR 162
2016
1. UNITED TECHNOLOGIES 956
2. GENERAL ELECTRIC 700
3. SIEMENS 357
4. ROLLS-ROYCE 207
5. TOYOTA MOTOR 162
6. SAFRAN 160
7. ROBERT BOSCH 144
8. MITSUBISHI HEAVY INDUSTRIES 130
9. CONTINENTAL 86
10. MAHLE 63
  Others 3 336
Total applications in this field 6 301
Leading countries in 20183
Leading countries in 2018


2017 vs. 2016
Germany 1 278 -11.4%
France 391 +21.1%
Switzerland 146 -36.8%
Netherlands 42 -30.0%
United Kingdom 229 -16.7%
other EPO member states 746 +9.2%
United States 2 229 +8.0%
Japan 890 -4.2%
China, People’s Republic of 84 +104.9%
Korea, Republic of 80 -9.1%
Others 186 -6.1%
Total applications in this field 6 301
Source: EPO.
Status: 27.1.2019.
1 European patent applications include direct European applications and international (PCT) applications that entered the European phase during the reporting period.
2 The definition of the fields is based on the WIPO IPC technology concordance. The table is available at:
http://www.wipo.int/export/sites/www/ipstats/en/statistics/patents/xls/ipc_technology.xls.
3 The geographic origin is based on the country of residence of the first applicant listed on the application form (first-named applicant principle). In cases where several applicants are mentioned on the application form, the country of residence of the first applicant listed applies.
4 This is the ranking in each technology field of the main consolidated applicants at the EPO in 2019 (first-named applicant principle). It is based on European patent applications filed with the EPO in each technology field. It includes direct European applications and international (PCT) applications that entered the European phase. Applications by identifiable subsidiaries, not necessarily located in the same country, are allocated to the consolidated applicants.
5 EPO states: the 38 member states of the European Patent Organisation, which includes the 27 states of the EU.
Pharmaceuticals

This field encompasses preparations for medical, dental or hygiene purposes, for example emulsions, dragees and amalgams.

Total applications
Top applicants in 20204
  • INSTITUT NATIONAL DE LA SANTE ET DE LA RECHERCHE MEDICALE (INSERM) 118
  • MERCK & CO 99
  • JOHNSON & JOHNSON 92
  • NOVARTIS 86
  • UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 71
2020
1. INSERM6 118
2. MERCK & CO 99
3. JOHNSON & JOHNSON 92
4. NOVARTIS 86
5. UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 71
6. SANOFI 66
7. HOFFMANN-LA ROCHE 57
8. BOEHRINGER INGELHEIM 47
9. NESTLÉ 40
10. BAYER 36
  Others 7 877
Total applications in this field 8 589
Leading countries in 20203
Leading countries in 2020


2020 vs. 2019
Germany 631 +8.0%
Switzerland 479 +2.4%
France 575 +21.8%
Netherlands 232 +14.9%
United Kingdom 290 -4.0%
Other EPO states5 1 384 +26.5%
United States 3 359 +13.6%
Japan 428 -0.2%
China, People’s Republic of 289 -11.6%
Korea, Republic of 247 +1.6%
Others 675 -6.3%
Total applications in this field 8 589
Source: EPO.
Status: 1.2.2021..
1 European patent applications include direct European applications and international (PCT) applications that entered the European phase during the reporting period.
2 The definition of the fields is based on the WIPO IPC technology concordance. The table is available at:
http://www.wipo.int/export/sites/www/ipstats/en/statistics/patents/xls/ipc_technology.xls.
3 The geographic origin is based on the country of residence of the first applicant listed on the application form (first-named applicant principle). In cases where several applicants are mentioned on the application form, the country of residence of the first applicant listed applies.
4 This is the ranking in each technology field of the main consolidated applicants at the EPO in 2020 (first-named applicant principle). It is based on European patent applications filed with the EPO in each technology field. It includes direct European applications and international (PCT) applications that entered the European phase. Applications by identifiable subsidiaries, not necessarily located in the same country, are allocated to the consolidated applicants.
5 EPO states: the 38 member states of the European Patent Organisation, which includes the 27 states of the EU.
6 Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale.
Biotechnology

This field encompasses peptides, microbiology and genetic engineering. Included in the field are, for example, genetically modified organisms, brewing of beers, preparation of wine and vinegar.

Total applications
Top applicants in 20204
  • HOFFMANN-LA ROCHE 206
  • INSTITUT NATIONAL DE LA SANTE ET DE LA RECHERCHE MEDICALE (INSERM) 72
  • NOVOZYMES 68
  • SANOFI 68
  • NOVARTIS 58
2020
1. HOFFMANN-LA ROCHE 206
2. INSERM6 72
3. NOVOZYMES 68
3. SANOFI 68
5. NOVARTIS 58
6. DSM 54
7. MERCK & KGAA 50
8. BASF 49
8. REGENERON 49
10. UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 48
  Others 6 524
Total applications in this field 7 246
Leading countries in 20203
Leading countries in 2020


2020 vs. 2019
Germany 814 +9.4%
Switzerland 521 +14.3%
France 503 +0.6%
United Kingdom 344 +19.4%
Netherlands 269 -10.3%
Other EPO states5 976 -1.5%
United States 2 277 -0.9%
Japan 545 +18.0%
China, People’s Republic of 363 +75.4%
Korea, Republic of 267 +31.5%
Others 367 +0.3%
Total applications in this field 7 246
Source: EPO.
Status: 1.2.2021.
1 European patent applications include direct European applications and international (PCT) applications that entered the European phase during the reporting period.
2 The definition of the fields is based on the WIPO IPC technology concordance. The table is available at:
http://www.wipo.int/export/sites/www/ipstats/en/statistics/patents/xls/ipc_technology.xls.
3 The geographic origin is based on the country of residence of the first applicant listed on the application form (first-named applicant principle). In cases where several applicants are mentioned on the application form, the country of residence of the first applicant listed applies.
4 This is the ranking in each technology field of the main consolidated applicants at the EPO in 2020 (first-named applicant principle). It is based on European patent applications filed with the EPO in each technology field. It includes direct European applications and international (PCT) applications that entered the European phase. Applications by identifiable subsidiaries, not necessarily located in the same country, are allocated to the consolidated applicants.
5 EPO states: the 38 member states of the European Patent Organisation, which includes the 27 states of the EU.
6 Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale.
Other special machines

The field of “other special machines” covers machine tools for agriculture, textile, paper, food (i.e. sugar industry production), shaping of plastic, cement and clay, as well as manufacturing of 3D objects.

Total applications
Top applicants in 20204
  • DEERE & COMPANY 115
  • HP 105
  • CNH INDUSTRIAL 84
  • BOEING 76
  • BASF 75
2020
1. DEERE & COMPANY 115
2. HP 105
3. CNH INDUSTRIAL 84
4. BOEING 76
5. BASF 75
6. GENERAL ELECTRIC 66
7. CLAAS 62
8. SIGNIFY 60
9. TETRA 57
9. LG 53
  Others 5 508
Total applications in this field 6 261
Leading countries in 20203
Leading countries in 2020


2020 vs. 2019
Germany 1 248 +0.4%
France 434 +17.9%
Italy 316 +0.6%
Netherlands 310 -11.2%
Siwtzerland 220 -2.7%
Other EPO states5 1 048 -18.8%
United States 1 389 +0.4%
Japan 753 -2.6%
China, People’s Republic of 127 -4.5%
Korea, Republic of 105 -27.6%
Others 311 -6.6%
Total applications in this field 6 261
Source: EPO.
Status: 1.2.2021.
1 European patent applications include direct European applications and international (PCT) applications that entered the European phase during the reporting period.
2 The definition of the fields is based on the WIPO IPC technology concordance. The table is available at:
http://www.wipo.int/export/sites/www/ipstats/en/statistics/patents/xls/ipc_technology.xls.
3 The geographic origin is based on the country of residence of the first applicant listed on the application form (first-named applicant principle). In cases where several applicants are mentioned on the application form, the country of residence of the first applicant listed applies.
4 This is the ranking in each technology field of the main consolidated applicants at the EPO in 2020 (first-named applicant principle). It is based on European patent applications filed with the EPO in each technology field. It includes direct European applications and international (PCT) applications that entered the European phase. Applications by identifiable subsidiaries, not necessarily located in the same country, are allocated to the consolidated applicants.
5 EPO states: the 38 member states of the European Patent Organisation, which includes the 27 states of the EU.

All technical fields

This analysis shows the number of European patent applications1 filed with the EPO in the different technology fields2.

Technical Field 2020 2019 Change
Electrical engineering Electrical machinery, apparatus, energy 11 346 10 297 0.4%  
Audio-visual technology 4 474 4 278 4.6%  
Telecommunications 3 982 4 047 -1.6%  
Digital communication 14 122 13 978 1.0%  
Basic communication processes 1 071 1 079 -0.7%  
Computer technology 13 097 12 859 1.9%  
IT methods for management 2 413 2 499 -3.4%  
Semiconductors 3 197 2 984 7.1%  
Instruments Optics 4 250 4 229 0.5%  
Measurement 8 582 9 048 -5.2%  
Analysis of biological materials 1 303 1 358 -4.1%  
Control 3 354 3 264 2.8%  
Medical technology 14 295 13 935 2.6%  
Chemistry Organic fine chemistry 5 905 5 993 -1.5%  
Biotechnology 7 246 6 814 6.3%  
Pharmaceuticals 8 589 7 797 10.2%  
Macromolecular chemistry, polymers 4 058 3 943 2.9%  
Food chemistry 1 878 1 807 3.9%  
Basic materials chemistry 4 696 4 703 -0.1%  
Materials, metallurgy 3 661 3 839 -4.6%  
Surface technology, coating 2 541 2 631 -3.4%  
Micro-structural and nano-technology 120 147 -18.4%  
Chemical engineering 4 092 4 210 -2.8%  
Environmental technology 1 706 1 855 -8.0%  
Mechanical engineering Handling 4 399 4 760 -7.6%  
Machine tools 3 594 3 711 -3.2%  
Engines, pumps, turbines 4 386 5 249 -16.4%  
Textile and paper machines 2 443 2 636 -7.3%  
Other special machines 6 261 6 419 -2.5%  
Thermal processes and apparatus 2 666 2 674 -0.3%  
Mechanical elements 3 821 4 220 -9.5%  
Transport 9 020 9 540 -5.5%  
Other fields Furniture, games 3 224 3 166 1.8%  
Other consumer goods 4 531 4 577 -1.0%  
Civil engineering 4 724 4 654 1.5%  
Not classified 1 203
1 332 -9.7%  
Total 180 250 181 532  
Source: EPO.
Status: 1.2.2021.
1 European patent applications include direct European applications and international (PCT) applications that entered the European phase during the reporting period.
2 The definition of the fields is based on the WIPO IPC technology concordance. The table is available at:
http://www.wipo.int/export/sites/www/ipstats/en/statistics/patents/xls/ipc_technology.xls.

Country profiles

This analysis reflects the number of European patent applications filed1 with the EPO in each of the top ten technology fields3 for each of the main countries of origin2.

EPO in a worldwide context

EPO states – top 5

Source: EPO.
Status: 1.2.2021.
1 European patent applications filed include direct European applications and international (PCT) applications that entered the European phase during the reporting period.
2 In cases where several applicants are mentioned on the application form, the country of residence of the first applicant listed applies.
3 The definition of the fields is based on the WIPO IPC technology concordance. The table is available at:
http://www.wipo.int/export/sites/www/ipstats/en/statistics/patents/xls/ipc_technology.xls.
4 EPO states: the 38 member states of the European Patent Organisation, which includes the 27 states of the EU.

This analysis shows country ranking2 based on the ratio of number of European patent applications filed with the EPO1 per million inhabitants3. The ratio per million inhabitants is for countries with a population of at least 1 million inhabitants.

Rank Country Applications per mio inhabitants Population3
(mio inhabitants)
Applications1
1. Switzerland 965.9 8.398 8 112
2. Sweden 434.2 10.186 4 423
3. Denmark 409.6 5.869 2 404
4. Netherlands 369.1 17.274 6 375
5. Finland 340.1 5.572 1 895
6. Germany 324.1 80.070 25 954
7. Austria 260.0 8.856 2 303
8. Belgium 205.0 11.708 2 400
9. Israel 194.1 8.660 1 681
10. Ireland 187.5 5.173 970
11. Korea, Republic of
176.6 51.577 9 106
12. Japan 174.5 125.136 21 841
13. France 155.5 67.859 10 554
14. United States 133.2 332.639 44 293
15. Norway 118.2 5.465 646
16. Singapore 99.3 5.810 577
17. Puerto Rico 90.9 3.190 290
18. United Kingdom
86.9 65.731 5 715
19. Slovenia 78.5 2.102 165
20. Italy 73.8 62.335 4 600
21. Chinese Taipei
57.0 23.563 1 344
22. Cyprus 50.5 1.267 64
23. Canada 46.7 37.650 1 760
24. Estonia
46.4 1.228 57
25. New Zealand 40.6 4.925 200
26. Spain 37.9 47.273 1 791
27. Australia 37.6 25.468 958
28. Portugal 24.2 10.288 249
29. Hong Kong SAR (China) 21.5 7.248 156
30. Czech Republic
19.2 10.698 205
31. Lithuania 18.2 2.740 50
32. Latvia
14.34 1.883 27
33. Saudi Arabia
14.26 34.224 488
34. Greece 12.8 10.605 136
35. Poland 12.6 38.270 483
36. Hungary 11.0 9.756 107
37. Slovakia 10.1 5.440 55
38. China, People's Republic of
9.6 1.394.016 11 342
39. Bulgaria 7.5 6.965 52
40. Mauritius 7.253 1.379 10
41. United Arab Emirates
7.251 9.792 71
42. Turkey 7.2 82.009 594
43. Croatia 5.2 4.230 22
44. Qatar 2.9 2.447 7
45. Romania 2.5 21.310 54
46. Uruguay 2.1 3.389 7
47. Chile 2.0 18.182 37
48. Russian Federation 1.9 142.588 264
49. South Africa 1.6 56.435 89
50. Costa Rica
1.2 5.097 6
Source: EPO.
Status: 1.2.2021.
1 European patent applications include direct European applications and international (PCT) applications that entered the European phase during the reporting period.
2 The geographic origin is based on the country of residence of the first applicant listed on the application form (first-named applicant principle). In cases where several applicants are mentioned on the application form, the country of residence of the first applicant listed applies.
3 Source of population figures: U.S. Census Bureau, International Data Base.

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