The European Patent Office has today released the 2014 patent figures for the 38-state region, which shows that Samsung filed the most patents during the calendar year. Samsung filed 2,541 patents over the year, out of a little over 274,000 filings, which is up by over 3% from 2013 and a record number of filings and compares with approximately 300,000 for the American Patent Office. Given a background of expensive, complicated and high profile legal fights that have arisen because of alleged patent infringement, this is very much as we would expect. Companies continue to need to protect their intellectual property from the competition.
In terms of countries, the US dominates the list by filing almost 72,000 European patents in aggregate, more than a quarter. Europe is holding parity with the US when it comes to registering, creating and potentially enforcing patents and European Patent Office president BenoÈ‹t Battistelli said this on the matter: "Demand for patent protection in Europe has been growing steadily, and is up for the fifth year in a row. Europe continues to strengthen its key role as a global hub of technology and innovation for a growing number of companies from around the world. The rise in patent filings originating from Europe underlines the importance of patent-intensive industries as a solid base for the European knowledge economy: They foster Europe's competitiveness, economic strength and employment."
We recently reported that software patents could be less relevant going forward and this appears to be reflected in the data produced by the European Patent Office; Samsung are followed by Philips, Siemens, LG and Huawei to make the top five. And by industry sector, medical technologies has been the single greatest contributor, but as you can see from the chart in the gallery, there are a number of related sectors for both information technology and the medical sectors: these are areas seeing a lot of innovation being protected by patents!
Whilst the number of patent filing in Europe is closed to the American market, US companies still vastly outweigh other countries when it comes to overall global patent filings and the number of filings increased by almost 7% during 2014. Japan and Germany, ranked second and third, showed declines in the number of filed patents but the fourth country in the list, China, showed a significant 18% hike in filed patents.