The European Patent Office (EPO) recently published their 2017 Annual Report which gave a summary of interesting patent statistics from the last year and showed how they compare to previous years. The EPO was founded in 1973 – it comprises of 38 European member states, two European extension states and four Validation states.
In 2017, the number of European patent filings increased by 4.4% to 310,784 – 78% of these filings were for PCT and 22% of them were Direct Filing. The number of patent applications also increased by 3.9% to 165,590 – the top three technical fields were Medical Technology, Digital Communication and Computer Technology.
In terms of origin of the applications, 27% of them came from Europe (led by Germany, France and Switzerland), 22% were from the US, 18% from Japan. A few countries saw a particularly large increase in applications – China increased by 16.6%, Denmark increased by 13.1% and Austria increased by 8.2%.
For the first time, the European Patent Office published more than 100,000 granted European patents. In the past two years, this number has increased by 50.3%, showing that Europe is considered more than ever a leading technology market.