From 2011 to 2017, patent applications at the EPO for automated driving increased by 330%, compared to 16% across all technologies in the same period, according to the study, titled “Patents and self-driving vehicles”. And in the past ten years, the EPO received some 18 000 patent applications related to self-driving vehicles, with nearly 4,000 in 2017 alone. The study also shows that half of the top 25 companies active in this field at the EPO, including the top four applicants, are not traditional automotive/transport companies, but information, communication and technology (ICT) firms.
Patent filings at the European Patent Office (EPO) hit a new record in 2013, with applications coming from the US growing by 2.8% (2012: +5.1%). Last year US companies deposited 64 967, or 24.5%, of all European patent filings (2012: 63 198), which confirms the US as the No. 1 among all countries at the EPO, ahead of Japan (52 437; +1.2%) and Germany (32 022, -5.4%). It is the highest number of patents ever filed by US companies within one year at the EPO. In the last decade, European patent filings originating in the US grew an average 2.2% per year. Since 2004 the number of US patent filings in Europe has risen by more than 20%.
The European patent with unitary effect (unitary patent) in the 25 participating states is based on two regulations, one creating the instrument, and one on the applicable language regime for the new patent. The EPO has been entrusted by 25 EU member states to deliver and administer unitary patents. The third element of the package is the creation of a unified patent litigation system set up under an international convention establishing the Unified Patent Court (UPC), a specialised court with a first and an appeal instance with exclusive jurisdiction concerning infringement and validity questions related to unitary patents. The positive vote in the Parliament became possible after the EU member states endorsed the regulations in their Competitiveness Council meeting on Monday. The unitary patent now has to be formally adopted by the EU Council and the European Parliament, which is expected soon.
The European Patent Office (EPO) today honoured outstanding inventors for their contribution to social, economic and technological progress with the presentation of the European Inventor Award (EIA) – Europe’s most prestigious prize for innovation. “With their brilliant inventions, this year’s laureates have created great economic value and thousands of jobs. Above all, they have improved people’s lives”, said EPO President Benoît Battistelli. “The EIA pays tribute to these creative and entrepreneurial minds for their significant contribution to technological progress, social development and economic growth.”