2014 was a successful year for the European Patent Office (EPO). In its report published on February 26, 2015, the EPO witnessed a rise of 3.1% of patents filings submitted to the EPO. A new record number of 274,174 patent filings was reached in 2014, from around 266,000 in 2013.
This significant rise was observed in France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The number of patent filings declined, however, in Finland, Switzerland, Spain and Japan. The United States and China witnessed a spectacular rise although they already had a high volume of applications in the previous years.
In 2014, the largest number of filings in the most active technological sectors at EPO came from European companies, such as Philips, Siemens, BAS, Robert Bosch and Ericsson. This rise shows both the economic strength of the European economy in terms of technological innovation and the stability and variety of its patent portfolio. It is worth noting that several US and Asian companies are amongst the top 10 of these rankings.
The largest increase of applications with the EPO occurred in the biotechnology, transport, IT, digital communications and measurements industries.
An ambitious program to modernize and reform the EPO in various key areas of operations was launched with a view to managing effectively the rise in patent filings. The EPO will upgrade its IT infrastructure, its human resources policy as well as cooperation with Member States to keep costs down. The program was already implemented successfully in 2013 and the EPO will pursue it in the next few years.