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Companies in the Netherlands make extensive use of intellectual property rights. With these, they work on several innovations, from medical devices to technologies that address climate change.

In the Netherlands, sectors that use intellectual property rights (IPR) above average account for 28.7% of employment. That is equivalent to 2.17 million jobs, says the European Patent Office (EPO) in a press release. One of the results from the report by the EPO and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) is that the economic impact of companies working on technologies to combat climate change has grown.

Companies using IPR use patents, trademarks, copyrights, registered designs or plant breeders’ rights in that period directly employed more than 61 million people in the EU. In addition to the 28.7% employment, IPR sectors also provide 41.9% of the gross national product. The sectors that use IPR the most are horticulture and flower wholesale (trademarks and plant breeders’ rights), medical devices (patents), chemical products (patents), food industry (patents, trademarks, plant breeders’ rights and registered designs) and cosmetics (patents and trademarks).  

Foreign companies

The study also shows that the Netherlands is the EU location of choice for foreign companies interested in innovations and patent-intensive sectors. This applies to companies from both inside and outside the EU. 31% of all Dutch jobs in patent-intensive companies are created by foreign companies (Germany 21%, France 24% and Belgium 23%). The Netherlands is especially attractive to companies outside the EU: of the 31% mentioned, more than half come from companies outside the EU, the highest percentage compared to any other European country. 

Europe’s driving force for sustainability 

The study shows that IPR-intensive companies active in developing climate change mitigation technologies and in “green” trademarks are a boon to the European economy. Their economic impact has also increased in recent years and accounted for 9.3% of employment and 14.0% of the gross national product in the EU during 2017-2019. Overall, every tenth European patent application filed by an EU company or inventor in 2019 related to technologies that reduce or prevent greenhouse gas emissions. Green trademarks filed by EU companies accounted for a similar share of all EU trademark applications in 2021.


EPO President António Campinos: “Innovation, supported by an efficient intellectual property rights system, is the key to ensuring Europe’s long-term growth and competitiveness. This report also shows that IPR-intensive sectors are more important than ever for the European economy. So it is good news for companies and inventors that Europe’s innovation environment will soon receive an additional boost with the introduction of the European patent with unitary effect and the European Patent Court.”

Selected for you!

Innovation Origins is the European platform for innovation news. In addition to the many reports from our own editors in 15 European countries, we select the most important press releases from reliable sources. This way you can stay up to date on what is happening in the world of innovation. Are you or do you know an organization that should not be missing from our list of selected sources? Then report to our editorial team.