More patents were filed to the European Patent Office (EPO) in 2012 than ever before, said the EPO today. The 258,000 applications filed represent a third record year in a row for the Patent Office and reflect the worldwide push to patent driven by the tech industry.
But the 5.7 perc ent increase in patent applications from 2011 says more about the value of Europe as a customer base than as a technological powerhouse.
Only 37 per cent of the patent applications to the EPO last year came from European countries. The bulk came from international companies looking to protect their products in the European market - 24.7 per cent of patents filed were from the USA, and the Asian trio of Japan, China and South Korea took 2nd, 4th and 5th place on list.
"[This] shows that companies from Europe and around the world are continuing to seek protection for their inventions, and that Europe remains an attractive market for new technologies," said EPO President Benoît Battistelli.
Germany was the most innovative European country, going by numbers of patents filed, coming in third behind the US and Japan with 34,590 applications in 2012, or 13.4 per cent of all patent filings.
Britain was an unexceptional eighth in the list behind China, South Korea, France and Switzerland. Brits filed 6,763 patents with the EPO in 2012, a modest increase of 4.4 per cent on 2011: giving the UK a 2.6 percent share of total filings.
Patent applications from most European countries were up or steady, with the exception of Italy (down 4 per cent) and Ireland (down 8.4 per cent). More detail on the figures will be out in March. ®