The European Patent Office released its annual patent report, revealing that it received a record 274,000 patent filings in 2014, a 3.1 percent hike over 2013. According to the EPO, member states like the Netherlands, France and the UK showed a significant rise in patent filings. The number of granted patents, on the other hand, was 3.1 percent lower than 2013. Get a more detailed look at the report after the break!
Patent Filings On The Rise
The EPO annual report noted that 78 percent of the record 274,174 patent filings in 2014 came from PCT applications while 22 percent were direct EPO filings. EPO member states held their own, accounting for 35 percent of the patent filings, followed by United States with a 26 percent share. Japan came in third with 18 percent while the fourth and fifth positions went to China and Korea, which garnered shares of 9 percent and 6 percent respectively.
European patent filings per country of origin
Among EPO member states, Germany led the way with 11 percent share of the patent filings followed by France (5 percent), Switzerland (3 percent), Netherlands (3 percent) and the UK (2 percent). Overall, patent filings originating from EU nations rose by 1.2 percent in 2014. EPO also reported a rise in patent filings from Netherlands (9.1 percent), the UK (4.8 percent) and France (4 percent).
The report also highlighted technology fields that accounted for the largest numbers of patent filings in 2014, a list that was led by medical technology, which received 11,124 filings, an increase of 3.2 percent. The electrical machinery, apparatus and energy field received 10,944 filings, experiencing growth of 8 percent, while digital communications garnered 10,018 filings. Notably, the field of biotechnology, which came in 8th on the list with 5,905 filings, grew by 12.1 percent, more than any other technical field.
Korea-based consumer electronics giant Samsung topped the list of applicants for 2014 with 2,541 patent filings followed by EU based Philips and Siemens with 2,317 and 2,133 filings respectively. Samsung rival LG came in fourth with 1,638 filings, while China-based Huawei finished fifth with 1,600. According to the EPO, five of the top 10 companies with the most patent filings belong to EU nations.
The majority of patent applications came from large enterprises which accounted for 64 percent of the pie. Small and medium sized enterprises accounted for 30 percent of the patent applications, while universities and public research organizations accounted for the remaining 6 percent.
EPO granted 64,613 patents in 2014, a drop of 3.1 percent from 2013, out of which 51 percent were awarded to its own member states. The United States accounted for 22 percent of the patents granted, followed by Japan with 17 percent, Korea with 3 percent and China with 2 percent. Germany again emerged at the top of the EPO member state rankings with 13,086 patents and was followed by France (4,728), Switzerland (2,794), Italy (2,274) and the United Kingdom (2,072).
On the other hand, the US topped the list of grants to non-member states with 14,382 grants, declining 3.3 percent from 2013. Japan also saw its number of grants by the EPO fall by 8.4 percent to 11,120 from 13,135 in 2013. Korea came in third with 1,891 patents granted, followed by China with 1,186 grants and Canada with 855 grants.
The European Patent Office stated that it carried out 223,303 searches in 2014, registering an increase of 4.7 percent. Of this total, 111,852 were European searches and 84,696 were international searches. Searches performed by the EPO on behalf of national offices and third parties stood at 26,755.
EPO also performed 115,595 European examinations and 7,987 international preliminary examinations, according to the report.
The opposition rate was 4.7 percent in the year 2014, while decisions in opposition stood at 2,143. In 38 percent of the opposition cases the patent was upheld in amended form while in 31 percent of the cases the patent was revoked. Cases which had their opposition rejected accounted for 31 percent of the outcomes.