As is revealed by the latest patent statistics of the EU commission, with a total of 23.789 patent applications for patentable inventions, Germany was the front-runner in the EU in 2005. In the same year in the United States there were 32.738 patent applications and 21.461 in Japan. Second in Europe came France with 8.034 applications followed by the Netherlands with 7.800, whereas in Great Britain 4.649 applications were submitted.
But what is this going to tell us about the innovative power of the individual countries? In order to respond to that question it is necessary to express the quantity of the patent applications on a per capita basis for each country. Doing so Germany (approx. 82 million inhabitants) accounts for approx. 287 patents for each 1 million Germans, in France (approx. 60 million people) there are 134 patents per each million of inhabitants, in the Netherlands (approx. 16 Mio) 476 applications are filed pro million and in Great Britain (approx. 60 million) just 77 patents. In Japan (approx. 127 million people) this calculation translates into 168 patents in the year 2005, whereas in the United States (approx. 296 million citizens) there were 111 patents for each million of people. So we are indeed entitled to rejoice in an honorable second place. World champion, however, is our EU neighbor, the Netherlands. Congratulations to our neighbor!
MittelstandsBlog.DE opines: This result is good for Europe, firstly because the class winner is part of the EU family. Secondly this outcome protects the Germans from becoming presumptuous as well as from jealousy. Finally: From an economic point of view it is better to come second to the Netherlands instead of being beaten by the big rivals Japan and the United States.