Patent insight reports

Our patent insight reports focus on future and emerging technologies - in other words technical fields that have yet to reach a critical mass of patent applications. They are designed to provide valuable insights into these potentially disruptive technologies.

The methodology underlying these reports is free to use, meaning that anyone can apply our analytical approach to reveal trends and prospects in other future and emerging technologies.

For each report, we develop a search strategy, using unique attributes of EPO data such as classification (CPC), citations and patent families. The search strategy is then applied, optimising both recall and precision, to create a technology-specific dataset based on EPO data. The resulting reports act as "snapshots" of emerging technologies, taken in the light of patent data.


Offshore wind energy, November 2023

This joint study by the EPO and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) provides information on the patent activities and trends in the area of renewable energy production, and in particular offshore wind energy. The report, which summarises the results of patent analyses in this field over the past 20 years, found that while growth stagnated between 2014 and 2017, recent years have seen a sharp increase in filings. 

Full report
Interactive data (Tableau workbook)
Data (XLS, 31,5 MB)

mRNA technologies, October 2023

This report summarises the results of patent analyses in the field of mRNA-based vaccines, a particularly dynamic sub-area of mRNA technologies. The report shows that the number of inventions in the mRNA-based vaccines field has multiplied over the last decade, experiencing significantly higher growth compared to all fields of technology.

Full report
Data (XLS, 17 KB)

Quantum simulation, June 2023

This study follows on from our patent insight report on quantum computing and looks at patenting trends in quantum simulation. We focus on so-called second-generation quantum simulation technologies. These build on the ability to control both the quantum-physical properties of individual or small groups of particles (such as atoms and photons) and how they behave.

Full report
Data (XLS, 20 KB)

Quantum computing, January 2023

The report provides, in the light of publicly available patent information, an overview of quantum computing at large and of the following sub-sectors: physical realisations of quantum computing, quantum error correction and mitigation, and technologies related to quantum computing and artificial intelligence/machine learning.

Full report
Data (XLS, 15 KB)

Space-borne sensing and green applications, October 2022

The report provides insights into patenting activity in space-borne sensing technologies. The study, jointly produced by the EPO and the European Space Policy Institute (ESPI) in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA), focuses on remote sensing data applications that can help to mitigate climate change. These include weather forecasting, detecting pollution, protecting biodiversity and monitoring the environment.

Full report
Data (XLS, 1.5 MB)
Patent Knowledge Nugget
"Earth observation for a greener planet" podcast

Innovation trends for electrolysers in hydrogen production, May 2022

This joint study by the EPO and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) uses patent statistics to reveal the trends and dynamism in the field of hydrogen that can be produced using renewable electricity. Renewables-based hydrogen can be used in the chemical sector and as a fuel. It is abundant and can be obtained through the electrolysis of water in the presence of electrocatalysts. This makes hydrogen very attractive as a green energy source, provided that its production is green too.

Full report
Interactive data (Tableau workbook)
Data (XLS, 72 MB)

Quantum technologies and space, November 2021

Prepared by the EPO and the European Space Policy Institute (ESPI) in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA), this report provides insights into the patenting activities for quantum technologies specifically as they relate to the space sector. These technologies are primarily used in secure communications, in time and frequency transfer, as well as in Earth observation and sensing. This report considers three key quantum technologies that enable these main application areas.

Full report
Supplementary material
Recorded online seminar

Cosmonautics, July 2021

This study conducted by the EPO and the European Space Policy Institute (ESPI) in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA) investigates the development of the technology of travel beyond Earth's atmosphere into outer space. In the context of spacecraft, patent analysis reveals insight into technology trends, rankings of spacefaring countries and league tables of large and small industry, private and public organisations.

Full report
Data (PPT, 1.2 MB)

Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell Immunotherapy, December 2019

This study commissioned by the European Patent Office demonstrates the application of patent information to gain insights into specific technological fields, in this case Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell Immunotherapy (CAR T-cell Immunotherapy). A peer-reviewed paper was published in Nature Biotechnology and featured in a recent online seminar.

Full report
Insights (PPT, 4.7 MB)
Data (ZIP, 1.5 MB)
Recorded online seminar

Quantum metrology and sensing, September 2019

This study conducted by the European Patent Office shows that the number of patent filings for second-generation quantum metrology and sensing devices is still small but has recently started to grow. It also reveals that a large proportion of the patent filings in this field come from academia, suggesting that researchers still account for most knowledge and exploitation of quantum physics.

Full report
Insights (PPT, 2.1 MB)
Data (XLS, 200 KB)
Recorded online seminar