The European Patent Office (EPO) received in 2017 about 166,000 patent applications, 3.9% more than the previous year and the highest figure reached so far.
In addition, in 2017 the EPO published for the first time more than 100,000 European patents over a year – almost 106,000, 10.1% more than in 2016-, according to the Annual Report 2017 published by this organization.
The president of the EPO, Benoît Battistelli, said that “the growing demand for European patents confirms the attractiveness of Europe as a leading technological market”.
The five countries that submitted more patents throughout 2017 in Europe were, in that order, the United States, Germany, Japan, France and China.
China had a growth of 16.6%, which allowed it to move Switzerland from fifth place in the ranking. The set of European countries experienced an increase of 2.8% in the number of patents filed, and represented 47% of the total patents applied for in 2017.
Japan grew again (3.5%) after several years of decline, and the United States also increased (5.8%) after the decline of the previous year. In contrast, the number of patents submitted by companies in South Korea fell by 8.2% after two years of increase.
Spain ranked 16th in the ranking, with a total of 1,676 patents submitted, representing an increase of 7.4% over the previous year.
If we analyze the number of European patents submitted according to the population of each country, we see that Switzerland leads that ranking in a comfortable way with a total of 884.3 patents per million inhabitants. This figure is more than double that of the Netherlands, second in the ranking, with 412.2 patents per million inhabitants.
Spain ranks 27th in this ranking, with a total of 34.2 patents submitted in 2017 for every million inhabitants.