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Europe patents continue to seek protection for their inventions

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"This new peak in European patent filings for the third year in a row 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. "This growth is part of a consistent, long-term trend, and is clear evidence of the confidence of industry in the value of European patents."

As far as the origin of filings is concerned, the trends observed in recent years persisted. With 63% of the filings, a clear majority came from non-European countries (2011: 62%), while the share from the 38 EPO member states was 37% (2011: 38%). The top five positions in 2012 are once again held by the US (24.7%), Japan (19.9%), Germany (13.4%), China (7.3%) and Korea (5.5%). Globally, Asian firms continued to fuel the growth in filings: more than half of the increase comes from Japan, China and Korea combined. After a stabilisation in 2011, US companies reached a new record with 63 777 filings, reinforcing their number one position. For Europe, following Germany as number three in the top five, the ranking is stable, with France in sixth place (4.6%), ahead of Switzerland (seventh: 3.2%), the UK (eighth: 2.6%) and the Netherlands (ninth: 2.5%). In absolute numbers, all of these EPO countries saw an increase in filings.

The EPO will publish detailed figures on trends in individual countries and industrial sectors as well as the ranking of companies on 14 March 2013.

Top 10 countries of origin

Rank

Country

Filings 2011

Filings 2012

Share 2012

Change / 2011

1

US

USA

60134

63777

24,7%    

6,1%    

2

JP

Japan

47390

51400

19,9%    

8,5%    

3

DE

Germany

33468

34590

13,4%    

3,4%    

4

CN

P.R. China

16932

18842

7,3%    

11,3%    

5

KR

R. Korea

13253

14278

5,5%    

7,7%    

6

FR

France

11898

11973

4,6%    

0,6%    

7

CH

Switzerland

7793

8182

3,2%    

5,0%    

8

GB

UK

6477

6763

2,6%    

4,4%    

9

NL

Netherlands

6191

6355

2,5%    

2,6%    

10

IT

Italy

4900

4706

1,8%    

-4,0%    

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