For most industries, the marketplace for products is becoming increasingly more global all the time. This means that companies must be vigilant in safeguarding intellectual property rights everywhere they do business, particularly with regard to patents.
A worldwide focus for many U.S. companies includes securing patents in European countries. As a result, the European Patent Office (EPO) has seen a 47 percent increase in patents from the United States, the highest increase in 10 years.
The EPO received nearly 160,000 patent applications in 2016. Of these, 40,076 patent applications were from the United States. More than half of these U.S. applications, or 21,939, received patent approval.
As for the industries represented with these patents, U.S. applications were strong in the following key areas:
- Computer technology (39 percent)
- Medical technology (38 percent)
- Engines, pumps and turbines (36 percent)
- Pharmaceuticals (36 percent)
The United States was among the top five countries of origin for EPO applications, which also included Germany, Japan, France and Switzerland. Countries that are members of the EPO make up 48 percent of all applications. China and Korea also saw a strong growth in their patent applications.
"The 2016 results confirm Europe's attractiveness as a leading global marketplace for innovation," said EPO President Benoît Battistelli. "In a rapidly changing technology landscape, companies from around the world have kept up their demand for patent protection in Europe."
If you are considering applying for patents or other intellectual property rights in Europe or other foreign markets, consider obtaining experienced legal representation. Your intellectual property attorney can help you determine the type of protection you need and guide you through the application process.