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Very strong growth in European patent applications

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The number of patent applications filed with the European Patent Office (EPO) grew by 4.6% last year, reaching a new high of 174 317 (2017: 166 594). The EPO’s Annual Report for 2018 shows an increase in patents filed from all major industrial regions but European companies maintained the lead in their home market, with 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% (2017: 22.1%). The US remained the top country of origin, accounting for 25% of total filings, followed by Germany, Japan, France and China. Thanks to its highly dedicated staff and the combined effect of recent measures to improve the patent-grant process, the EPO published 127 625 granted European patents (+21%) in 2018.

In 2018, businesses and inventors continued to file large numbers of patent applications at the EPO, with the five top filing regions – Europe, the US, Japan, China and the Republic of Korea – all showing increases.

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