INNOVATION : GERMANY STILL LEADS ON EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATIONS.

PositionGermany submits by far the greatest number of patent applications to the European Patent Office

Germany submits by far the greatest number of patent applications to the European Patent Office (EPO), while the Scandinavian countries seem to be losing ground. According to the Eurostat survey published in January, Berlin still held the top position in absolute figures, in 2003, in the EU27, with 312 patent applications, compared to 137 for the EU25 and 128 for the EU27. Germany also took the lead in relative terms.

Finland and Sweden, which ranked high with 306 and 285 patent applications, respectively, in 2003, showed low growth rates. From 1998 to 2003, while the number of patent applications submitted to the EPO by the EU27 showed an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 4%, that rate was only 1.4% in Finland and -0.6% in Sweden.

Very high growth rates were observed in patent applications to the EPO from the Asian countries. In 2003, they ranged from 10% in Japan (219 applications) to 46% in India. The other non-EU countries also put in a good performance, with figures of over 200 patent applications per million inhabitants in Switzerland (426) and Israel (237).

Annual growth rates registered in 2000 by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) were generally lower, observes Eurostat. The AAGR for the EU27 was only 0.5%.

While Germany led the way in terms of absolute figures, it slipped behind Sweden in the number of applications per million inhabitants. Finland...

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