Patent Index 2021

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: 1.2.2022.
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: 1.2.2022.
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 2021. In 2021, 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: 1.2.2022.
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 2021 (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 20214
  • LG 580
  • SIGNIFY 341
  • CONTEMPORARY AMPEREX 289
  • SIEMENS 247
  • SAMSUNG 211
2021
1. LG 580
2. SIGNIFY 341
3. CONTEMPORARY AMPEREX 289
4. SIEMENS 247
5. SAMSUNG 211
6. SIEMENS ENERGY 204
7. ROBERT BOSCH 188
8. VALEO 177
9. ABB 163
10. PANASONIC 159
  Others 9 495
Total applications in this field 12 054
Leading countries in 20213
Leading countries in 2021


2021 vs. 2020
Germany 2 103 +1.9%
France 666 +5.9%
Netherlands 564 -2.4%
Switzerland 552 +3.8%
Austria 325 +30.5%
Other EPO states5 1 411 +16.1%
United States 1 605 +11.2%
Japan 1 830
-7.8%
China, People's Republic of 1 366
+26.8%
Korea, Republic of 1 117
-4.0%
Others 515 +25.6%
Total applications in this field 12 054
Source: EPO.
Status: 1.2.2022.
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 2021 (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 20214
  • PHILIPS 653
  • MEDTRONIC 612
  • JOHNSON & JOHNSON 555
  • BOSTON SCIENTIFIC 229
  • BECTON DICKINSON 206
2021
1. PHILIPS 653
2. MEDTRONIC 612
3. JOHNSON & JOHNSON 555
4. BOSTON SCIENTIFIC 229
5. BECTON DICKINSON 206
6. BIOTRONIK 185
7. EDWARDS LIFESCIENCES 123
8. FRENESIUS 121
9. SANOFI 116
10. FUJIFILM 110
  Others 12 411
Total applications in this field 15 321
Leading countries in 20213
Leading countries in 2021


2021 vs. 2020
Germany 1 426
+8.1%
Netherlands 884
+3.6%
Switzerland 857 +18.5%
France
719 -3.0%
United Kingdom 471 -0.8%
Other EPO states5 1 903
+3.6%
United States 5 865
+1.9%
Japan 981 -7.4%
China, People's Republic of 455 +4.6%
Korea, Republic of 387 +5.7%
Others 1 373
-15.9%
Total applications in this field 15 321
Source: EPO.
Status: 1.2.2022.
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 2021 (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 20214
  • HUAWEI 1 840
  • ERICSSON 1 382
  • QUALCOMM 1 054
  • SAMSUNG 810
  • OPPO6 688
2021
1. HUAWEI 1 840
2. ERICSSON 1 382
3. QUALCOMM 1 054
4. SAMSUNG 810
5. OPPO6 688
6. NOKIA
658
7. ZTE 486
8. SONY 430
9. NTT DOCOMO 411
10. VIVO 280
  Others 7 361
Total applications in this field 15 400
Leading countries in 20213
Leading countries in 2021


2021 vs. 2020
Sweden 1 446
+15.1%
Germany 745 +3.3%
Finland 677 +40.7%
France 368 -10.9%
Netherlands 246 +5.1%
Other EPO states5 504 +18.2%
United States 3 743
+2.4%
Japan 1 417
+1.3%
China, People's Republic of 4 462
+23.8%
Korea, Republic of 1 138
+8.4%
Others 654 -7.0%
Total applications in this field 15 400
Source: EPO.
Status: 1.2.2022.
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 2021. 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 20214
  • MICROSOFT 790
  • SAMSUNG 788
  • BAIDU 488
  • HUAWEI 480
  • ALPHABET 453
2021
1. MICROSOFT 790
2. SAMSUNG 788
3. BAIDU 488
4. HUAWEI 480
5. ALPHABET 453
6. INTEL 373
7. SIEMENS 334
8. MICRON TECHNOLOGY 280
9. SONY 245
10. FUJITSU 183
  Others 10 257
Total applications in this field 14 671
Leading countries in 20213
Leading countries in 2021


2021 vs. 2020
Germany 1 209
+12.3%
France 669 +5.5%
United Kingdom 462 -0.2%
Netherlands 364 -5.5%
Switzerland 225 +20.3%
Other EPO states5 952 +5.3%
United States 5 294
+8.0%
Japan 1 319
-3.3%
China, People's Republic of 2 240
+46.7%
Korea, Republic of 981 -8.0%
Others 956 +11.0%
Total applications in this field 14 671
Source: EPO.
Status: 1.2.2022.
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 2021 (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 20214
  • RAYTHEON TECHNOLOGIES 338
  • AIRBUS 269
  • VOLVO GR 219
  • VOLKSWAGEN 187
  • SIEMENS 185
2021
1. RAYTHEON TECHNOLOGIES 338
2. AIRBUS 269
3. VOLVO GROUP 219
4. VOLKSWAGEN 187
5. SIEMENS 185
6. STELLANTIS 176
7. ROBERT BOSCH 146
8. BRIDGESTONE 138
9. TOYOTA MOTOR 137
10. BOEING 135
  Others 7 469
Total applications in this field 9 399
Leading countries in 20213
Leading countries in 2021


2021 vs. 2020
Germany 2 020
-0.8%
France 1 009
+0.4%
Sweden 477 +32.9%
Italy 400 +9.3%
United Kingdom 325 +31.6%
Other EPO states5 1 112
+14.6%
United States 1 541
+18.7%
Japan 1 379
-9.3%
China, People's Republic of 494 -4.1%
Korea, Republic of 237 +26.1%
Others 405 -5.8%
Total applications in this field 9 399
Source: EPO.
Status: 1.2.2022.
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 2021 (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 20214
  • SWATCH GROUP 181
  • SIEMENS 164
  • ROBERT BOSCH 138
  • HITACHI 135
  • HONEYWELL 131
2021
1. SWATCH GROUP 181
2. SIEMENS 164
3. ROBERT BOSCH 138
4. HITACHI 135
5. HONEYWELL 131
6. PHILIPS 108
7. RAYTHEON TECHNOLOGIES 104
7. SONY 104
9. APTIV 89
10. ENDRESS+HAUSER 87
  Others 8 028
Total applications in this field 9 167
Leading countries in 20213
Leading countries in 2021


2021 vs. 2020
Germany 1 562
+2.8%
Switzerland 744 +6.7%
France 550 +6.0%
Netherlands 349 -4.6%
United Kingdom 254 -14.8%
Other EPO states5 1 006
+6.8%
United States 2 002
+5.7%
Japan 1 262
+10.3%
China, People's Republic of 485 +14.1%
Korea, Republic of 247 +3.3%
Others 646 +27.7%
Total applications in this field 9 167
Source: EPO.
Status: 1.2.2022.
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 2021 (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 20214
  • BASF 221
  • UNILEVER 154
  • HOFFMANN 122
  • BAYER 119
  • L'OREAL 110
2021
1. BASF 221
2. UNILEVER 154
3. HOFFMANN-LA ROCHE 122
4. BAYER 119
5. L'OREAL 110
6. EVONIK 96
7. HENKEL 92
8. MERCK KGAA
86
9. CHINA NATIONAL CHEMICAL CORPORATION
82
10. JOHNSON & JOHNSON 78
  Others 4 912
Total applications in this field 5 923
Leading countries in 20213
Leading countries in 2021


2021 vs. 2020
Germany 1 073
+0.4%
Switzerland 489 +6.8%
France 413 -1.0%
Netherlands 338 +3.4%
United Kingdom 199 -30.4%
Other EPO states5 595 -4.8%
United States 1 351
-7.5%
Japan 455 -12.2%
China, People's Republic of 486 +37.7%
Korea, Republic of 267 +7.2%
Others 257 -3.4%
Total applications in this field 5 923
Source: EPO.
Status: 1.2.2022.
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 2021 (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 20214
  • JOHNSON & JOHNSON 116
  • UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 90
  • INSERM6 87
  • MERCK & CO 83
  • NOVARTIS 78
2021
1. JOHNSON & JOHNSON 116
2. UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 90
3. INSERM6
87
4. MERCK & CO 83
5. NOVARTIS 78
6. HOFFMANN-LA ROCHE 69
7. SANOFI 52
7. UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS SYSTEM 52
9. BOEHRINGER INGELHEIM 50
10. GLAXOSMITHKLINE 47
  Others 8 373
Total applications in this field 9 026
Leading countries in 20213
Leading countries in 2021


2021 vs. 2020
Germany 623 -4.0%
France 482 -18.4%
Switzerland 496 +2.7%
United Kingdom
330 +11.9%
Netherlands 237 +3.5%
Other EPO states5 1 347
+2.9%
United States 3 582
+15.7%
Japan 580 +27.2%
China, People’s Republic of 328 -16.3%
Korea, Republic of 297 +11.2%
Others 724 +6.5%
Total applications in this field 9 026
Source: EPO.
Status: 1.2.2022.
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 2021 (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 20214
  • HOFFMANN 156
  • INSERM6 90
  • UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 69
  • ILLUMINA 68
  • SANOFI 65
2021
1. HOFFMANN-LA ROCHE 156
2. INSERM6 90
3. UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 69
4. ILLUMINA 68
5. SANOFI 65
6. BASF 61
7. DSM 58
8. JOHNSON & JOHNSON 49
8. NOVARTIS 49
8. NOVOZYMES 49
  Others 7 004
Total applications in this field 7 611
Leading countries in 20213
Leading countries in 2021


2021 vs. 2020
Germany 785 -5.7%
France 481 -3.4%
Switzerland 390 -22.6%
United Kingdom 339 +3.0%
Denmark 241 +1.3%
Other EPO states5 993 -4.6%
United States 2 611
+11.2%
Japan 546
+14.0%
China, People’s Republic of 518 +75.6%
Korea, Republic of 273 +17.7%
Others 461 +35.6%
Total applications in this field 7 611
Source: EPO.
Status: 1.2.2022.
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 2021 (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 20214
  • DEERE 128
  • BOEING 99
  • CNH INDUSTRIAL 95
  • CLAAS 69
  • BASF 68
2021
1. DEERE 128
2. BOEING 99
3. CNH INDUSTRIAL 95
4. CLAAS 69
5. BASF 68
6. GENERAL ELECTRIC 64
7. TETRA LAVAL 53
8. HP 51
9. AIRBUS 48
9. HUSQVARNA 48
  Others 5 811
Total applications in this field 6 450
Leading countries in 20213
Leading countries in 2021


2021 vs. 2020
Germany 1 219
-2.6%
France 485 +10.7%
Italy 324 +3.2%
Netherlands 305 -0.3%
Siwtzerland 237 +5.3%
Other EPO states5 1 143
+14.6%
United States 1 451
+8.8%
Japan 728 -10.1%
China, People’s Republic of 132 +2.3%
Korea, Republic of 105 -5.4%
Others 321 -0.6%
Total applications in this field 6 450
Source: EPO.
Status: 1.2.2022.
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 2021 (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 2021 2020 Change
Electrical engineering Electrical machinery, apparatus, energy 12 054
11 409
5.7%  
Audio-visual technology 5 440
4 388 24.0%  
Telecommunications 4 092
3 952 3.5%  
Digital communication 15 400
14 077 9.4%  
Basic communication processes 988 1 066
-7.3%  
Computer technology 14 671
13 370
9.7%  
IT methods for management 2 438
2 408
1.2%  
Semiconductors 3 748
3 097
21.0%  
Instruments Optics 4 242
4 262
-0.5%  
Measurement 9 167
8 606
6.5%  
Analysis of biological materials 1 260
1 340
-6.0%  
Control 3 360
3 320
1.2%  
Medical technology 15 321
15 193
0.8%  
Chemistry Organic fine chemistry 5 923
6 029
-1.8%  
Biotechnology 7 611
7 141
6.6%  
Pharmaceuticals 9 026
8 446
6.9%  
Macromolecular chemistry, polymers 4 033
4 124
-2.2%  
Food chemistry 2 010
1 894
6.1%  
Basic materials chemistry 4 432
4 658
-4.9%  
Materials, metallurgy 3 890
3 730
4.3%  
Surface technology, coating 2 686
2 601
3.3%  
Micro-structural and nano-technology 146 115 27.0%  
Chemical engineering 4 026
4 030
-0.1%  
Environmental technology 1 823
1 774
2.8%  
Mechanical engineering Handling 4 719
4 418
6.8%  
Machine tools 3 549
3 620
-2.0%  
Engines, pumps, turbines 4 318
4 366
-1.1%  
Textile and paper machines 2 359
2 472
-4.6%  
Other special machines 6 450
6 216
3.8%  
Thermal processes and apparatus 2 641
2 702
-2.3%  
Mechanical elements 3 925
3 833
2.4%  
Transport 9 399
8 993
4.5%  
Other fields Furniture, games 3 348
3 230
3.7%  
Other consumer goods 5 130
4 563
12.4%  
Civil engineering 4 598
4 679
-1.7%  
Not classified 377
295 27.8%  
Total 188 600 180 417
 
Source: EPO.
Status: 1.2.2022.
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: 1.2.2022.
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 968.6 8.715 8 442
2. Sweden 487.6 10.160 4 954
3. Denmark 454.5 5.813 2 642
4. Netherlands 383.2 17.173 6 581
5. Finland 380.5 5.548 2 111
6. Germany 309.5 83.900 25 969
7. Austria 256.2 9.043 2 317
8. Belgium 213.6 11.632 2 485
9. Israel 195.3 8.790 1 717
10. Ireland 191.9 4.983 956
11. Korea, Republic of
183.1 51.305 9 394
12. Japan 172.0 126.051 21 681
13. France 161.1 65.426 10 537
14. United States 139.8 332.915 46 533
15. Singapore 120.6 5.897 711
16. Norway 117.1 5.466 640
17. United Kingdom
82.5 68.207 5 627
18. Italy
81.5 60.367 4 919
19. Chinese Taipei
61.7 23.855 1 472
20. Slovenia 55.8 2.079 116
21. Canada 54.7 38.068 2 083
22. Estonia 52.1 1.325 69
23. New Zealand
46.5 4.861 226
24. Spain
41.8 46.745 1 954
25. Australia 39.5 25.788 1 019
26. Cyprus 36.2 1.216 44
27. Portugal 28.1 10.168 286
28. Puerto Rico
27.6 2.828 78
29. Lithuania 27.1 2.690 73
30. Hong Kong SAR (China)
23.8 7.553 180
31. Greece 19.1 10.371 198
32. Czech Republic
18.9 10.725 203
33. Poland
16.3 37.797 539
34. Hungary 12.2 9.634 118
35. Latvia 11.8 1.867 22
36. China, People's Republic of
11.5 1.444.216 16 665
37. Saudi Arabia
10.7 35.341 377
38. Mauritius
8.6 1.273 11
39. Turkey 8.6 85.043 732
40. Slovakia 7.7 5.461 42
41. Croatia
6.6 4.082 27
42. United Arab Emirates
6.5 9.991 65
43. Bulgaria 5.8 6.897 40
44. Uruguay 2.6 3.485 9
45. Serbia 2.5 8.698 22
46. North Macedonia
2.4 2.083 5
47. Chile 2.4 19.212 46
48. Russian Federation 1.9 145.912 272
49. Romania 1.6 19.128 30
50. Costa Rica
1.6 5.139 8
Source: EPO.
Status: 1.2.2022.
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: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division

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