FOR INFO: EPO Patent Index 2020

We would like to inform you that the European Patent Office (“EPO”) has just published the its Patent Index 2020. As in previous years, the data covers European patent applications filed, top applicants, granted European patents and quality indicators.


The main findings can be summarised as follows:


  • Despite the pandemic, the overall number of European patent applications filed in 2020 was nearly on a par with the previous year’s, decreasing by 0.7%. The EPO received 180,250 patent applications in total last year, which was slightly below the record level attained in 2019 (181,532).
  • Data shows stark contrasts among technologies and countries of origin.
  • Among the leading technical fields, pharmaceuticals (+10.2%) and biotechnology (+6.3%) showed the biggest increases in terms of patent filings. Medical technology (+2.6%) accounted for the most inventions in 2020. The previous growth champions, digital communication (+1.0%) and computer technology (+1.9%), continued to show strong patenting activity, ranking second and third respectively. Meanwhile, transport showed the largest drop (-5.5%), especially in the sub-fields of aviation and aerospace (-24.7%), and to a lesser extent automotive (-1.6%).
  • Data show a strong growth from China and South Korea. European, Japanese and US inventors filed fewer patent applications.
  • Samsung, Huawei and LG top the applicant ranking. The European top filers are Ericsson, Siemens and Robert Bosch.


An overview of the applications received from EPO member states is attached.


The 2020 Patent Index can be accessed on the following webpage:


In this context, we encourage members to distribute this report further to raise awareness on these key figures.Applications from EU member states_2020