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Patent Office Statistics for 2018

United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO)

In their annual document, ‘Facts and figures: patent, trade mark, design and hearing data’ the UK IPO revealed that in 2018 there was actually a net drop in patent applications from 2017 of 5%. 2018 saw 20,931 patent applications, with 12,061 publications and 5,982 grants (compared to 2017’s 22,072, 11,768 and 6,311 respectively). Interestingly, this drop is compared to a 15% and 26% increase in trade mark and registered design applications over the same period.

The document provides breakdown of filings by the applicant country of residence. 12,843 applications came from the UK itself, with Applicants from the USA (2479), China (1006), Japan (637) and Germany (470) being the most prolific filers from overseas.

Looking at published applications by their International Patent Classification (IPC) reveals that the most applications were filed in the fields of ‘Instruments’ (2,817), ‘Electricity’ (1,965), ‘Transport’ (1,381), and ‘Health; LifeSaving; Amusement’ (1,042). This is reflected in the top Applicants at the UK IPO being:

Rank Applicant Applications in 2018
1 Rolls-Royce plc 425
2 Ford Global Technologies, LLC 377
3 Jaguar Land Rover Limited 320
4 Halliburton Energy Services, Inc 261
6 Dyson Technology Limited 147
7 Nerudia Limited 141
8 ARM Limited 139
9 Oxford University Innovation Limited 115


2018 also saw a dip in Green Channel applications – with 296 compared to 382 in 2017. This is a route we are seeing TLIP clients successfully utilising to speed up prosecution of applications at the UKIPO.


European Patent Office (EPO)

Earlier in the year the EPO also released their office’s annual report, showing a near five percent growth in patent applications in 2018. The office received a new all-time high of 174,317 applications in 2018, a 4.6 percent increase on the previous year (2017: 166 594).

47% of all patent applications at the EPO originate from the 38 EPO member states, with from Germany (26,734 applications, 15% of total), France (10,317, 6%), Switzerland (7,927, 5%), The Netherlands (7,140, 4%) and the UK (5,736, 3%) being the most prolific European Patent filers. The non-European Countries with the most applications were the USA (43,612 applications, 25% of total), Japan (22,615, 13%), China (9,401, 5%) and Korea (7,296, 4%).

The EPO reports that the technology fields with the most applications at the EPO were ‘Medical technology’ (13,795, reporting a 5% increase on 2017), ‘Digital Communication’ (11,940, 0.7% increase), ‘Computer Technology’ (11,718, 3.3% increase), ‘Electrical, machinery, apparatus, energy’ (10,722, 4.7% increase) and ‘transport’ (9,039, 5.9% increase).

Telecoms companies dominate the top five filers at the EPO:

Rank Applicant Applications in 2018
1 Siemens 2,493
2 Huawei 2,485
3 Samsung 2,449
4 LG 2,376
5 United Technologies 1,983
6 Royal Philips 1,617
7 Qualcom 1,593
8 Ericsson 1,472
9 General Electric 1,307
10 Robert Bosch 1,286


In terms of the efficiency, the EPO reported a 20% increase in the number of granted patents. This reflects the EPO’s goals of dealing with its backlog of patent applications, and to provide accelerated timetables (“early certainty”) from examination. The EPO also reported a 5.8% drop in searches, a 18.8% increase in examination and a 0.3% drop in oppositions being filed. These statistics show that 3.2% of all patents granted by the EPO were opposed.

Commenting on the annual report’s findings, EPO president Antonio Campinos said he thought 2018 was “a successful year for the EPO. Our production was up and there was a significant increase in the volume of granted patents.” “Those are good achievements by the EPO staff, but performance isn’t just about granted patents and productivity. We’ve kept our focus on quality with new initiatives and improved timeliness. There’s also been progress in a whole host of other fields which we need to support our overall competitiveness. The European patent is now valid in more countries, we’ve continued to grow our patent information databases, and training and outreach activities have intensified.”

The EPO has produced a neat infographic showing some of their key statistics –  https://tinyurl.com/y4wppecl