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Annual Report 2014

Welcome to the Annual Report 2014. Find out the key trends and statistics from the EPO.

Benoît Battistelli
President of the European Patent Office

Highlights from 2014

2014 has been a landmark year for the EPO. Patent filings reached a new record high, and the certification of our quality management system ensured on-going quality improvements to our services. Europe also moved closer to the much-awaited reform of the unitary patent and Unified Patent Court, with more countries ratifying the agreement.

Outside of Europe, in partnership with the other leading patent offices around the world, we continued to harmonise tools and simplify our procedures, improving access to patent protection and information for innovators everywhere.

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Patent filings reach record high

Patent filings at the EPO reached a new record high in 2014. Much of the growth came from the US and China, but European firms too showed strong patenting activity in their home market. The figures highlight that demand for European patents comes from all sectors of technology and all size and type of company, not only large corporations, but also SMEs, research institutes and universities.

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Albania
Total Filings: 2014 3
2013 1
Change: % +200
Austria
Total Filings: 2014 2501
2013 2393
Change: % +4.5
Belgium
Total Filings: 2014 2264
2013 2223
Change: % +1.8
Bulgaria
Total Filings: 2014 68
2013 69
Change: % -1.4
Croatia
Total Filings: 2014 54
2013 44
Change: % +22.7
Cyprus
Total Filings: 2014 62
2013 54
Change: % +14.8
Czech Republic
Total Filings: 2014 273
2013 283
Change: % -3.5
Denmark
Total Filings: 2014 2352
2013 2306
Change: % +2
Estonia
Total Filings: 2014 52
2013 43
Change: % +20.9
Finland
Total Filings: 2014 2472
2013 2724
Change: % -9.3
France
Total Filings: 2014 12873
2013 12378
Change: % +4
Former Yoegoslavian Republic Of Macedonia
Total Filings: 2014 4
2013 1
Change: % +300
Germany
Total Filings: 2014 31647
2013 31887
Change: % -0.8
Greece
Total Filings: 2014 186
2013 154
Change: % +20.8
Hungary
Total Filings: 2014 190
2013 205
Change: % -7.3
Iceland
Total Filings: 2014 50
2013 54
Change: % -7.4
Ireland
Total Filings: 2014 709
2013 718
Change: % -1.3
Italy
Total Filings: 2014 4684
2013 4659
Change: % +0.5
Latvia
Total Filings: 2014 27
2013 91
Change: % -70.3
Liechtenstein
Total Filings: 2014 399
2013 372
Change: % +7.3
Lithuania
Total Filings: 2014 58
2013 50
Change: % +16
Luxembourg
Total Filings: 2014 584
2013 558
Change: % +4.7
Malta
Total Filings: 2014 94
2013 101
Change: % -6.9
Monaco
Total Filings: 2014 37
2013 27
Change: % +37
Netherlands
Total Filings: 2014 8104
2013 7430
Change: % +9.1
Norway
Total Filings: 2014 820
2013 825
Change: % -0.6
Poland
Total Filings: 2014 701
2013 577
Change: % +21.5
Portugal
Total Filings: 2014 183
2013 170
Change: % +7.6
Romania
Total Filings: 2014 48
2013 50
Change: % -4
San Marino
Total Filings: 2014 6
2013 7
Change: % -14.3
Serbia
Total Filings: 2014 32
2013 21
Change: % +52.4
Slovakia
Total Filings: 2014 84
2013 51
Change: % +64.7
Slovenia
Total Filings: 2014 214
2013 190
Change: % +12.6
Spain
Total Filings: 2014 2485
2013 2528
Change: % -1.7
Sweden
Total Filings: 2014 5132
2013 5130
Change: % 0
Switzerland
Total Filings: 2014 7890
2013 8139
Change: % -3.1
Turkey
Total Filings: 2014 1000
2013 942
Change: % +6.2
United Kingdom
Total Filings: 2014 6823
2013 6519
Change: % +4.7

Patent Filings by Geographic Location

Interest from around the world

Patent filings from Europe grew moderately, with Germany, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the UK as the leading European countries.

The US and China showed the steepest increases among the large economies, making up a growing proportion of the total filingss. Roughly a third (35%) of the total filingss in 2014 came from the EPO member states and two-thirds (65%) from outside of Europe.

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Growth champions

The US and China showed the steepest increases among the large economies, making up a growing proportion of the total filingss, with the number of filings from China increasing by 18% and the US by 7%. Growth from South Korea was moderate in 2014, with filings from Japan dropping for the second year in a row.

Amongst the largest European countries, Poland and Greece showed the greatest increases, with growth of 22% and 21% respectively.

Largest European countries1 with significant growth rate
  1. Poland +21.5%
  2. Greece +20.8%
  3. Netherlands +9.1%
  4. Portugal +7.6%
  5. Turkey +6.3%
  6. United Kingdom +4.8%
  7. France +4.0%
1Population over 10 million
Growth champions worldwide
  1. P.R. China +18.2%
  2. India +7.3%
  3. United States of America +6.8%
  4. Australia +6.5%

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Fields of technology

  1. 1. Medical Technology 11 124 +3.2%
  2. 2. Electrical Machinery, Apparatus, Energy 10 944 +8.0%
  3. 3. Digital Communication 10 018 +6.6%
  4. 4. Computer Technology 9 869 +7.8%
  5. 5. Transport 7 533 +1.2%
  6. 6. Measurement 7 228 +6.6%
  7. 7. Organic Fine Chemistry 6 132 -1.3%
  8. 8. Biotechnology 5 905 +12.1%
  9. 9. Engines, Pumps and Turbines 5 318 -3.2%
  10. 10. Pharmaceuticals 5 278 -5.4%

European companies filed the greatest number of applications in nine of the ten most active fields, the only exception being computer technology, where US applicants were dominant.

Medical technology was again the field with the highest volume of applications, even growing moderately. biotechnology, electrical machinery and computer technology grew the fastest, while applications in pharmaceuticals dropped significantly for the second year in a row.

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Leading applicants

Top 10 applicants in 2014
  1. Samsung 2541 -10.3%
  2. Philips 2317 +26.0%
  3. Siemens 2133 +8.1%
  4. LG 1638 -0.6%
  5. Huawei 1600 -48.6%
  6. BASF 1530 -3.0%
  7. Qualcomm 1459 21.2%
  8. Robert Bosch 1438 -8.6%
  9. Ericsson 1347 -13.8%
  10. Intel 1054 176.6%
  • EPO member state
  • United States
  • R. Korea
  • P.R. China

Samsung again headed the list of top patent applicants at the EPO in 2014, followed by Philips and Siemens. Among the ten most active applicants, five companies came from Europe, three from Asia, and two from the US. With Huawei in fifth place, a Chinese company re-entered the top ten (ZTE was 10th in 2013). The majority of these companies work in the electronics and IT sectors.

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