FAQ - Patent statistics

Why are patent statistics important?

Patent statistics can be used to ascertain the maturity of certain technologies or to identify technological trends. By comparing the number of applications with the number of applicants, it is possible to identify whether research activities are clustered or scattered. This can then be illustrated in a patent map.

What is patent mapping?

Patent mapping is essentially the visualisation of the results of statistical analyses and text mining processes applied to patent documents. Patent mapping allows you to create a visual representation of information from and about patent documents in a way that is easy to understand. It is an excellent tool for assessing large sets of patent data. Using bibliographic data you can identify which technical fields particular applicants are active in, and how their filing patterns and IP portfolios change over time. It is also possible to find out which countries lead in which fields.

Who uses patent statistics and patent mapping?

Patent statistics and patent mapping can provide invaluable information for corporate decision-makers, investors (venture capitalists, promotional banks), innovators (R&D), influencers (patent offices, policy-makers) and management.

How do I create a patent map? What are the steps involved?

Step 1:
  • Define the data to include in the analysis
  • Choose a database that covers the required information
  • Define your query (dates, IPC, keywords, etc.)
  • Collect data; remove noise, i.e. irrelevant or insufficient information
  • Harmonise applicants' names
Step 2:

Carry out a statistical analysis of structured information such as bibliographic data, inventors' names, titles of inventions, etc. Do text mining on unstructured information such as abstracts, descriptions and claims


  • Export the data (full data set) to a spreadsheet
  • Define the purpose of analysis (e.g. technologies, application)
  • Add categories of information to documents
  • Run a statistical analysis
  • Check results
Step 3:

Visualise the results of your statistical analysis by creating your patent map. There are many different kinds of patent maps for various purposes and users. You can use various graphs to show the results of your statistical analysis, for example simple bar or line charts, area graphs or bubble charts. These are all forms of patent maps.

Where can I find information from the EPO about patent statistics?

Basic EPO production statistics such as filing rates by technical domain, residence of applicants and inventors, the most active patent filers, etc. can be found on the general statistics page, which contains a general breakdown by EPC contracting state (also published in our annual reports). An executive summary of the same statistics is included in the Facts and figures brochure.

Where else can I find patent-related statistics?

IP5 offices

Statistics from the IP5 offices

  • European Patent Office (EPO)
  • Japan Patent Office (JPO)
  • Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO)
  • National Intellectual Property Administration of the People's Republic of China (CNIPA)
  • United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)

can be found in the IP5 statistics reports. The reports also provide an overview of the key IP5 statistical indicators.


The WIPO website provides patent and PCT statistics.


The OECD's work on patents covers various patent indicators reflecting trends in innovative activity across a wide range of OECD and non-OECD countries, with six main sections: EPO, USPTO and JPO patent families; patenting at national, regional and international level; patenting in selected technology areas; patents by institutional sector; international co-operation in patenting; European and international patent citations.

IP5 offices

Where can I find data to create my own statistics?

There are 4 EPO products that allow extraction of data and/or statistics.  Each of the products contains worldwide patent data.


The filter module in Espacenet offers basic filtering functions that provide statistical analyses and visualisations of query results on predefined categories such as publication countries, applicant and inventor names and countries and classification symbols. Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) can be used between the filter items to build more advanced filtering and statistical analyses. Filters may be applied on publication or patent family level.

Global Patent Index (GPI)

GPI is a subscription product, and you can obtain a 1-month free access to evaluate it. The data is updated weekly, and searches are formulated using an intuitive and easy to learn query syntax. GPI allows for much more advanced searching then what Espacenet allows. GPI has a statistics window that delivers ready to use simple graphs or cross reference graphs. These graphs can be downloaded in JSON or CSV format. GPI also allows users to download a user defined list of the search results (max 50 trial / 10.000 subscription) which can then be used to create graphs or tables using your own visualisation or analysis tools.


PATSTAT Online is a subscription product but you can obtain a 1-month free access to extract the data or graphs you need. The data is updated 2 times per year and searches are formulated using SQL. PATSTAT Online gives you full freedom to combine any of the data attributes or tables in using SQL queries, but it is a strictly read-only platform. PATSTAT Online has a statistics window that delivers ready to use simple graphs or cross reference graphs similar to GPI. PATSTAT Online also allows users to download result lists (max 10.000 – free version- / 700.000-with subscription- rows) which can then be used to create graphs or tables using your own visualisation or analysis tools. PATSTAT Online also allows data base extractions (MS ACCESS or CSV) based on a result list of maximum 100.000 patent applications.


PATSTAT Global is a subscription product. It is EPOs flagship product for users who want to conduct complex and sophisticated data analysis. The data is updated 2 times per year and delivered as a set of CSV files representing a readymade relational data base. Hosting PATSTAT at your premises gives you full freedom to aggregate, link or manipulate the data using whatever tools, platform, or hosting environment you want. Users can make use of the many non-EPO data sets that can be linked to PATSTAT. Because of its flexibility and generous terms of use, PATSTAT Global is the preferred data base to conduct econometric analysis. Users are often academia, policy, and research institutes.

Does the EPO provide tailor-made data sets or statistical analyses or tools that automatically generate patent maps?

No, the EPO can advise users and guide them to the appropriate tools that will help them conduct their analysis of patent statistics and create a patent map. However, it does not provide tailor-made data sets or statistical analyses, and has not developed tools for automatically generating patent maps.

Watch out for virtual classroom seminars on patent mapping and statistics on the EPO's searchable events calendar.

What are the limitations of patent mapping and patent statistics?

Simply counting patents is often not enough, since their value can differ greatly from case to case. What you need to do is assess the importance of the inventions concerned based on significant indicators such as patent family size, the length of time the patent has been in force and citation information.

You should always compare the resulting information with other sources, such as market information and expert opinions. And it helps to be familiar with the patent grant procedure.

Quick Navigation