Belgium records the highest increase of patent applications in Europe

Update on patent filing at the EPO: sectors, applicants and regions.

OPRI, the Belgian Office for Intellectual Property, provided us with the following information. 

Belgium recorded the highest increase of patent applications to the Europe Patent Office in 2016. This increase of 7% in 2016 (against 5.9% in 2015) is the highest increase recorded since 2010 (2,184 patent applications in 2016 against 2,041 in 2015). Among the top 12 (countries recording the strongest growth), only China has seen faster growth.

The growth sectors are: 

  • organic chemistry (+31,6%)
  • biotechnologies (+30,4%)
  • information technology (+28,1%) 

Given these results, the top 3 Belgian applicants are quite logically: 

  • Solvay (269 applications)
  • Imec (169 applications)
  • Agfa-Gevaert (105 applications) 

Two universities are also in the top 10:

  • Ghent University (55 applications)
  • KU Leuven (31 applications) 

By regions, Flanders filed the most patent applications (64.4%), followed by Wallonia with 19.5% of the applications and finally the Brussels-Capital region. Flemish Brabant is the greatest applicant and the highest increase is recorded in Namur province.

As for the number of patent applications per million inhabitants, Belgium is in eighth position with 191 patent applications per million inhabitants. Switzerland is still in the lead (892 applications per million inhabitants.

More information in the press release of the European Patent Office