According to the European Patent Office (EPO), which conducted the research, organisations in the pharmaceutical sector were led for a second year by the French Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM), which filed 93 pharmaceutical-related patent applications with the EPO in 2019.
Both the pharmaceutical and biotechnology fields saw an increase in the number of patent applications, rising by 4.4 percent and 1.7 percent respectively over 2018, their third consecutive year of growth.
“The steady growth of patent applications in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals demonstrates that Europe is an environment in which first-class innovation in the life sciences can flourish,” said EPO President António Campinos. “Through our robust and thorough patenting system, the EPO supports companies and inventors so that they can continue to develop inventions that improve both health and quality of life.”
Other findings show that European innovators continued to lead in filing for life science-related patents in their own market, with 41 percent of all applications in pharmaceuticals at the EPO in 2019 originating from member states and at a growth rate of 2.5 percent over 2018.
In biotechnology, European firms had a strong lead, accounting for 47 percent of all applications at the EPO, with the US making up 32 percent. Continuing a trend from 2018, patent applications from Asian companies in the biotechnology industry have continued to rise dramatically, with China at +63.5 percent and the Republic of Korea at +47.8 percent.
Furthermore, within the European life sciences industry, German firms accounted for the largest share of patent applications at the EPO in 2019. In pharmaceuticals, eight percent of the patent applications came from German companies, followed by Switzerland with a six percent share. Similarly in the biotechnology field, Germany leads with an 11 percent share (although applications dropped by -3.5 percent over 2018).