Recent studies

2020: Innovation in batteries and electricity storage

The EPO’s first joint study with the International Energy Agency, Innovation in batteries and electricity storage – a global analysis based on patent data, underlines the key role that battery innovation is playing in the transition to clean energy technologies.

2020: Patents and additive manufacturing

EPO’s latest landscaping study entitled “Patents and additive manufacturing – Trends in 3D printing technologies” demonstrates that innovation in this field is surging across multiple industries.

2019: Market success for inventions
Patent commercialisation scoreboard: European SMEs

A new generation of European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are successfully leveraging their inventions for commercial purposes in a variety of ways. This study by the Chief Economist analyses their approaches, with a focus on collaborations with a partner from another European country. It also examines the full range of encouraging outcomes, such as licensing agreements, co-operations and technology spin-offs.

Finally, the scoreboard reveals that SMEs often struggle to find partners from outside their existing network of personal or business contacts. It therefore highlights the potential for ramping up invention commercialisation through measures to help enterprises better identify market partners throughout Europe.

2019: Intellectual property rights intensive industries and economic
performance in the European Union – industry-level analysis reports

Produced jointly by the EPO and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), these studies analyse the contribution made by IPR-intensive sectors to the EU economy. They cover all major IP rights: patents, trade marks, designs, copyrights, geographical indications and plant varieties. They identify which industries make above-average use of those IP rights and quantify the contribution of these IPR-intensive industries to major macro economic variables (employment, wages, gross domestic product and trade) at EU level. New for the 2019 study are data for Switzerland, Norway and Iceland.

The studies provide comprehensive and robust data, as well as a solid evidence base for policymakers. They are the first of their kind to link various IPR databases (including the EPO's PATSTAT database and the EUIPO's registers of EU trade marks and Community designs) with macro-economic measures and general industry-level statistics. The methodology followed is similar to that applied in equivalent studies by the USPTO, thus facilitating comparison between the US and EU economies in terms of the impact of their native IPR-intensive industries

2019: High-growth firms and intellectual property rights:
the IPR profile of high-potential SMEs in Europe

Produced jointly by the EPO and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), this study looks at the use of IPR by high-growth SMEs and analyses how these firms shape their IPR strategies prior to experiencing high growth. The study shows that IPR activity can be used as a leading indicator of future SME success by policymakers, potential investors or business partners wishing to identify high-growth firms at an early stage in their development.

2018: Patents and self-driving vehicles:
the inventions behind automated driving

This study provides a comprehensive picture of current trends and emerging leaders in self-driving vehicle technologies. Drawing on the EPO's most recent patent information, including as yet unpublished patent applications, and incorporating advanced technology expertise in the field, it is a unique source of intelligence which will enable policy-makers and industry leaders to understand and anticipate the significant changes that are on the way.

2017: Patents and the Fourth Industrial Revolution:
the inventions behind digital transformation

“Patents and the Fourth Industrial Revolution” is a study which focuses on the technologies related to autonomous objects. Its aim is to provide decision-makers in both the public and private sectors with information about the high-tech drivers and innovation trends behind this revolution.

It draws on the latest information available in patent documents and the technical expertise of the EPO’s patent examiners.

2017: Patents, trade and foreign direct investment
in the European Union

This study evaluates the impact of Europe’s patent system on the circulation of new technologies through trade and foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Single Market. The analysis focuses on innovative manufacturing industries - analytical instruments, biopharmaceuticals, chemicals, information and communication technologies, medical devices and production technologies - that make intensive use of intellectual property rights.

The study finds that patent protection is needed to support trade and FDI in these industries. However, the potential of patents is not being fully utilised in the EU due to the fragmentation of the current patent system (with its so-called “bundle of national rights” post-grant). The forthcoming Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court will go some way towards addressing these issues.

2017: EPO SME case study series

In co-operation with the European Patent Academy, the Chief Economist Unit has put together 12 case studies which show how Europe's small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are successfully using patents for their business. The selected SMEs come from a number of different European regions. They operate in a broad variety of industries and apply diverse business models. Each study describes the company's business model and showcases how it is supported by its IP strategy and IP management.

The case studies provide key take-home messages for SMEs planning to develop or improve their IP management capabilities. The experience and good practices they describe can be used by SMEs to support their development and growth. For each case study, dedicated training material will be made available which can be downloaded and used on a stand-alone basis.

2017: Development and deployment of CCMTs

In 2017 in co-operation with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the EPO has produced a policy brief to provide evidence on the latest trends in climate change mitigation technologies (CCMT) innovation and dissemination with a focus on renewable energy technologies, showing that patents support deployment. The main findings are as follows:

  • The number and commercial value of CCMT inventions are growing globally
  • Most innovation takes place in the energy sector, with renewables driving the growth
  • The integration of ICTs into renewable energy technologies remains a key challenge
  • Climate policy is a main driver of innovation in CCMTs
  • Inventive activity in CCMTs is mainly concentrated in a few regions of the world but diversity of inventor countries is growing
  • Patents support the deployment of CCMTs

2015: Climate change mitigation technologies in Europe
- evidence from patent and economic data

In a series of empirical studies on the role of patents in the development and dissemination of climate change mitigation technologies (CCMTs), the EPO and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) launched a new empirical study on CCMTs in Europe in December 2015. The study links patent trends with relevant economic data on investment, trade and technology transfer in CCMTs and provides a clear and comprehensive picture of Europe's contribution to CCMT development and dissemination.

2014: Unitary patent and the Unified Patent Court

Independent study published in April 2014 on the economic effects of the unitary patent package to identify, quantify and understand the individual drivers behind the behaviour for applying for unitary patents and the use of the Unified Patent Court.

2014: The economic effects of introducing a grace period in Europe

Independent study published in November 2014 to provide evidence-based analysis of the impact of the potential introduction of a grace period in Europe.

2010: Study on the economic dimensions of the fee structure
in the European Patent system, July 2010

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