The European Patent Office (EPO) has published the figures for 2012 relating to European patent applications filed and patents granted. The general scenario arising from such figures is positive for the third year in a row. The number of applications submitted (258,000) represents an increase of 5.7% over the filings of the previous year and a similar growth percentage of 5.8% refers to granted patents.

The ratio between the filings made by European subjects and those originating from the rest of the world follows rather closely that of 2011, with a slight increase (1%) for those coming from outside the European area (63% of the filings against 62% of the previous year). These positive data, in the words of EPO’s President Benoît Battistelli, confirm not only the continuing interest for the protection offered by patents and for Europe as a market for emerging technologies, but also the confidence in the Old Continent’s patent system.

In the depicted scenario the position of Italy appears to be out of key, given that its 4,706 filings represent a downturn of about 4% with respect to the 4,900 filings of 2011. Since both Spain and Portugal show positive trends, with a growth over the filings made in 2011 respectively of 2.3% and 10.3%, the Italian situation may not find its sole explanation in the economic crisis. Such decrease might in fact also be influenced by a more limited policy in public funding of innovation, as well as the political uncertainty in view of the forthcoming elections.

pdf download PDF »