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Patent applications in Europe rise, but women still under-represented

The number of patent applications at the European Patent Office (EPO) rose by almost 3 percent last year to 199,275 new inventions.

Digital communication, electrical machines, and energy technology were the growth areas, the EPO said in Munich on Tuesday.

Significantly, more applications were received from South Korea and China in particular.

However, the U.S. was in the lead with about 48,200 applications.

Germany followed at a considerable distance, with an increase of 1.4 percent to almost 25,000 applications.

Japan was next with around 21,500, followed by China with 20,700, South Korea with 12,600, France with 10,800, and Switzerland with 9,400.

Most patent applications from Germany relate to inventions in the fields of electrical machines, devices, energy, transport, and vehicle technology, as well as measurement technology, which includes sensors that are important for digitalization in the industry.

As in the previous year, the Chinese IT and telecommunications group Huawei topped the list of companies filing EPO patent applications, with more than 5,000 submissions.

It was followed by the South Korean tech companies Samsung and LG, the U.S. semiconductor manufacturer Qualcomm, and the Swedish mobile phone network supplier Ericsson.

Almost one in four patent applications in Europe is now filed by small companies with fewer than 250 employees.

EPO boss António Campinos said they benefited from the newly created Unitary Patent, which provides simple and cost-effective protection for inventions throughout the EU.

From the launch of the unitary patent in June 2023 to the end of the year, 22 percent of patents granted were unitary patents.

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The proportion of female inventors remained low.

In only 27 percent of all patent applications from Europe, at least one woman was named as an inventor.

In Germany, the figure was 22 percent. (dpa/NAN)

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