Lawyer Monthly - July 2022

36 WWW.LAWYER-MONTHLY.COM | JUL 2022 Each year, the European Patent Office (EPO) releases its Patent Index report outlining patenting activity on the continent. While this is always of interest to professionals in the intellectual property (IP) space, this year’s report bears reading across sectors for what it says about the state of innovation not only in Europe but globally. In short, it is positive reading; after a couple of years of disruption, patenting activity is continuing to grow as companies find new ways of tackling the problems we are facing in Europe and beyond. While the growing number of patents filed by non-European tech giants is significant for certain industries, it is largely counterbalanced by the strong performance of Europe’s own start-up scene. On the Road to Recovery With over 4,200 patent examiners, the EPO handles a huge number of applications each year from individuals, universities, and companies from all around the world. In 2021, a total of 188,600 applications were filed at the EPO, which includes new applications filed directly at the EPO, applications derived from International (PCT) patent applications and divisional applications derived from existing European applications. Amazingly, this means that roughly 700 applications are received by the EPO every working day! After a slight drop in numbers in 2020, filings have rebounded with a more typical increase of 4.5% in 2021, partly driven by the unique conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic. Looking at these numbers alone can be misleading, as applications can be filed for many reasons and with varying chances of being successfully granted. So, to gain Following two years of disruption owed in large part to the COVID-19 pandemic, new statistics show that activity at the European Patent Office is now on an upswing. EIP partner Gareth Probert examines the data and what it indicates for global IP in this special feature. European Patenting Back Track Gareth Probert Partner, EIP EIP, Fairfax House, 15 Fulwood Place, London, WC1V 6HU Tel: +44 020 7440 9510 Fax: +44 020 7117 5111 E: EUROPEAN PATENTING IS BACK ON TRACK is on

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