90 percent of patent applications submitted by SMEs

In the year 2005 more than 90 percent of patent applications in Europe came from companies and inventors, who submitted less than five inventions for protection by patent. This, according to the European Patent Office (EPA), is a sign of the European patent being very important to small and medium-sized entities (SMEs), as is reported by the Handelsblatt magazine in its online edition.

The chairman of the European Patent Office, Mr. Alain Pompidou, announced on Monday in Munich that in 2005 Germany with 23.800 patent applications (18.5 percent of all applications) had again been the leader in Europe. On a global scale Germany was only surpassed by the USA with 25.4 percent of all applications. Japan came third with 16.7 percent. There were differences with regard to the technology sectors to which patent applications were related. Whereas Germany was top with regard to applications for the field of mechanics and car manufacturing, the Germans have been outperformed by the USA and Japan in the field of bio and computer technologies.

Altogether there were 193.600 applications in Europe in 2005 which is 7.2 percent more as compared to the previous year. However, the share of applications accepted reduced by almost ten percent to 53.300 patent applications which were given protection. The detailed annual report 2005 by the EPA is available for download in PDF format. GERMAN