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Future patent filings – applicant survey 2021

In the face of multiple global challenges, Europe now more than ever needs a patent office that supports innovation aimed at making our world a safer, smarter and more sustainable place. The EPO is committed to planning for future volumes of filing activity, including those relating to new emerging technologies, and to learning about the challenges our users face, so that we can continue to deliver high-quality products in a timely manner. At the same time, we are fully aware that increased uncertainty makes planning difficult - for both ourselves and our users - so we want to make it as easy as possible for you to take part in this survey, while maintaining the quality of the results.

Objectives of this year's survey

  • As in previous years, we are interested in the number of patent applications that companies plan to file over the next three years. We will use these predictions to allocate resources, in particular the budget and manpower required to ensure a high level of service when processing future filings.
  • We have also included questions which will allow us to study the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on filing and patent strategies.
  • Last but not least, we will be inviting participants to share their thoughts on new emerging technologies.


  • The field investigation for this year's survey will start in September 2021. As in previous years, an external contractor, BERENT Deutschland GmbH, will be in charge of running the survey, under the EPO's supervision.
  • The survey will be conducted on two main groups of applicants: a "Biggest" group (around 1 000 of the most active applicants) and a "Random" group (around 4 000 randomly selected applicants).

If you would like to take part in the survey, please contact BERENT direct or write to Bettina Reichl at breichl@epo.org.

Further information