Chief Economist

Deep tech innovation in smart connected technologies

The EPO Chief Economist unit aims to provide high-level expertise and analysis and to foster well-informed policy debate on issues relating to patents, innovation and economic growth. It develops projects to help the EPO understand better how patents are used and what their economic impact is. Externally it promotes the EPO as a major player in the public arena (in academia, expert forums and the press, among policymakers, etc.).

The current Chief Economist is Yann Ménière (contact:

The European patent system and the grace period: an impact analysis 

The present study aims to provide a fact-based, quantitative assessment of the potential economic impact of the possible introduction of a grace period in Europe. It primarily draws on new empirical evidence collected via a broad survey of applicants who filed patent applications with the EPO in the past three years, i.e. the calendar years 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Deep tech innovation in smart connected technologies 

In recent years, the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) - led by innovation in technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, 5G and artificial intelligence (AI) - has massively accelerated the process of digital transformation and is altering the way we live, work and interact. This study aims to guide policymakers, industry and the broader public by providing a comprehensive inventory and analysis of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Europe and the US that have been developing and patenting 4IR technology over the past decade.

Patents for tomorrow's plastics

The rate at which plastics are produced (about 50 million tonnes per year) is outpacing our ability to manage the resulting waste. New technologies will help us all to better reduce, reuse and recycle plastics. Our study reveals the innovation trends in chemical and biological recycling, as well as the growth in research into plastics that can self-repair and are easier to recycle.

Economic research agenda

The Chief Economist unit aims to produce evidence-based research and advanced analysis on a range of policy issues relevant to the EPO.

  • Role of patents in economic growth, performance and employment
  • Economic analysis of the European patent system and the expected impact of the forthcoming unitary patent and Unified Patent Court
  • Development of new patent-based indicators and analysis of trends and policy issues, particularly in technology fields related to climate change and Industry 4.0
  • Economic analysis of the role of patents in the development of markets for technology

Main external partner organisations

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