“U.S. entities also featured prominently in medical technology, accounting for 40% of all patent applications in this sector, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology.”
Patent applications filed at the European Patent Office (EPO) rose 4% to 181,406 in 2019, driven by substantial increases from Chinese, Korean and U.S. applicants, according to a report published by the Office yesterday.
The United States was the number one country of residence of applicants, with 46,201 applications—a rise of 5.5%. This accounted for 25% of all European patent applications. The U.S. was followed by Germany and Japan. Applications from the People’s Republic of China increased by 29.2% to 12,247 putting the country in fourth place, while those from the Republic of Korea grew by 14.1%.
There were notable increases in applications for digital communication (up 19.6% to 14,175 applications in total) and computer technology (up 10.2% to 12,774). U.S. applications in these two fields grew by 14.6% and 13.6% respectively, having decreased in 2018.
The top three applicants overall were Huawei, Samsung and LG. The highest-placed U.S. applicant was United Technologies, which ranked fourth with 2,813 applications. Qualcomm was 6th with 1,668 but there were no other U.S. entities in the top 10.
“Patent applications from the U.S. grew strongly at the EPO in 2019, with the U.S. being one of the main drivers in making digital communication and computer technology the fastest rising technology fields,” said EPO President António Campinos. U.S. entities also featured prominently in medical technology, accounting for 40% of all patent applications in this sector, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology.
One of the most notable increases came in the transport field (including the automotive and aeronautics sectors), where applications from U.S. entities grew by 17%. This could indicate increased patenting activity relating to emerging technologies such as autonomous vehicles, electric power and alternative fuels.
Full details of the Patent Index 2019 are available online. There is a special report on digital technologies covering the fourth industrial revolution, artificial intelligence and 5G, as well as analysis of the data by EPO Chief Business Analyst Aidan Kendrick and Chief Economist Yann Ménière.