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Germany tops Europe innovation list

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Germany tops Europe innovation list
Siemens filed more patent applications than any other German firm.
15:12 CET+01:00
Germany continues to lead Europe in innovation, filing more patents to protect new products than any other European country in 2013.

Figures from the Munich-based European Patent Office (EPO) released on Thursday showed Siemens, Bosch, BASF and Bayer leading the field for the most applications.

There were 1,620 from Siemens, 1,546 from Bosch and 1,541 from BASF.

But the stats also showed German patent applications dropped by 5.4 percent in 2013.

Rainer Osterwalder, deputy spokesman at EPO told The Local the decline was due to drops in certain fields including pharmaceutical and bio-tech.

“Patent applications are filed strategically so they may feel next year is better, but it is very hard to predict,” he said.

He added the number of patent applications filed reflected the amount of research and development as well as investment taking place in a country. “They pave the way for innovation,” Osterwalder said.

In terms of growth, filings were up five percent in computer technology but down 14 percent for pharmaceuticals and dropped four percent for bio-tech.

Measured in applications per head, Switzerland topped the list of European countries, ahead of Sweden and Finland with Germany in sixth place.

Overall patent filings grew by almost three percent – an all-time high.

The EPO received 266,000 applications, compared to 258,000 in 2012. It granted 66,700 European patents.

“Europe continues to be a key market for innovation,” said EPO President Benoît Battistelli.

“Demand for patent protection in Europe is up for the fourth consecutive year. This is proof that companies from around the world continue to see Europe more and more as a premier hub for innovation," he added.

“The strong position of European companies in patent-intense technologies also underlines the central role these industry sectors play in generating employment and growth in the EU economy."

However, nearly two-thirds of patent filings came from outside of Europe. The most active countries were the US with 24 percent of the total and Japan with 20 percent.

Germany was in third place with 12 percent.  

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