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Last year companies and innovators from Central Europe filled more patent applications at the European Patent Office than in the previous years. Poland became a regional leader. The country posts its strongest growth in patent applications in four years.

Last year the European Patent Office (EPO), received 946 patent applications from Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, according to the EPO Annual Report 2018. This is a growth by 20% compared with previous year and well above the average growth rate of the 38 EPO member states (+3.8%).

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More applications from Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia

Patent applications filed by Czech inventors grew by 17,5 %. In 2017 the EPO received 242 applications from Czech Republic. A year earlier it was 206 applications. Overall, transport and organic fine chemistry are the technical fields in which the most patent applications are filed at the EPO, followed by pharmaceuticals and civil engineering. Among central European countries Czech Republic has the highest ratio of applications to population (22,6 applications per 1 million inhabitants)

Companies, scientists and innovators from Hungary submitted 120 patent applications. Top three fields were: medical technology, organic fine chemistry and biotechnology. In 2017 the EPO received 95 applications from Hungary, what gives growth of 26,3%. Number of patent applications from Slovakia increased by 22 %. The Slovaks filled 50 patent applications in 2018 and 41 applications year before.

Poland: regional leader in number of patent applications

2018 was a very good year for Poland. Patent applications filed by Polish inventors, companies and research institutions grew by 19.7% in 2018, one of the highest growth rates among European countries. It is the second consecutive year of strong and above-average growth, following a decline of 30.6% in 2016.

“In terms of patents, 2018 was another very positive year for Poland. With strong growth for two years in a row, we now see a positive upward trend that is based on double-digit growth in a dozen different key technology fields. This is a very good message, as industries with high use of intellectual property rights, including patents, strongly contribute to the economy in terms of employment, growth and trade. The contribution of academic institutions to Poland’s patenting activities is a particular strong point.” said EPO President António Campinos.

Polish key technologies: thermal processes and transport

The fields of ‘thermal processes’ and transport (where many patents in the automotive sector are filed) were the technology sectors in which the most European patent applications were filed from Poland (39 each), and each accounted for 7% of all Polish applications at the EPO in 2018. Strong growth was recorded in computer technology, ‘materials, metallurgy’, mechanical elements, civil engineering, and pharmaceuticals. Of the 15 most important technology fields in Poland, twelve showed double-digit growth.

High demand for patent protection across Europe

Demand for patent protection continues to grow. The number of patent applications filed with the EPO grew by 4.6% last year, reaching a new high of 174 317. 47% of all patent applications at the EPO originating from the 38 EPO member states. Asian companies also held their ground, with the combined share of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea rising moderately to 22.6%. The US remained the top country of origin, accounting for 25% of total filings, followed by Germany, Japan, France and China.

European countries exhibited an overall positive trend. With the exception of France and Finland, all of the EPO’s top 20 countries of origin posted growth in 2018.

source: EPO

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