Annual report 2013

Looking back on a year of great achievements

Demand for patent protection in Europe is up for the fourth consecutive year. This growth is proof that companies from around the world continue to see Europe more and more as a premier hub of innovation. The strong position of European companies in patent-intense technologies once more underlines the central role of these sectors for employment and growth in the EU economy.

transcriptvisual1 (JPG) Welcome to the annual results of the European Patent Office for the year 2013.

Last year we celebrated the 40th anniversary of our founding treaty, the European Patent Convention. This event was marked by the European Inventor Award in Amsterdam in May and celebrations in Munich in October.

2013 was again a new record year, with 265 000 filings, up 2.8% compared to the previous year. It is interesting to note that European applicants represent 35% of the total, a stable share in recent years. Non-European applicants represent 65%, with a significant increase in 2013 from China and Korea.

transcriptvisual2 (JPG) But growth in absolute terms is not the whole picture. If you consider the number of applications per inhabitant, European countries are among the most innovative countries in the world. SMEs, universities and public research centres represent one third of the applicants at the EPO.

Our priority is to facilitate access to the European patent system, which means simplifying and harmonising. Two examples in 2013: we have launched a new classification scheme, with our American colleagues from the USPTO. And the second example is Patent Translate, our free service for online automatic translation. It now covers 32 languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Russian, and it does break the language barrier.

Of course, a major event in 2013 has been the political decision taken by 25 EU countries to create a unitary patent and the Unified Patent Court. I think we can see this as the achievement of the vision of our founding fathers, to give the European economy an efficient tool to foster innovation and to create growth and prosperity through co‑operation in Europe.

"Our priority is to facilitate access to the European patent system, which means simplifying and harmonising."

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