The number of patent applications filed at the European patent office (EPO) in the first half of 2013 was up 5 per cent over last year.
The half year figure was leaked by the president of the EPO Benoît Battistelli on his internet blog, in which he also revealed that the number of patents actually granted by his office in the same period is up by 11 per cent.
Patent filings at the EPO have been steadily increasing for three years, roughly in parallel with the slow return to confidence in the global economy. The latest figures, which suggest an increase so far in 2013 of more than 6,000 applications, demonstrates that the recovery continues.
The numbers of patents and trade marks filed are generally indicative of the strength of confidence in the economy, because they relate to new business ideas.
When the global economy collapsed five years ago the numbers of patents and trade marks filed dropped dramatically, as businesses sought to consolidate rather than invest. However, if those same businesses are now investing in the future, it shows that they may now be a bit more sure of themselves.
The significant increase in patents granted by the EPO is also good news. The EPO has a large backlog of cases, so the faster it can process them the better for everyone. At BWR we have some EPO applications which are more than 10 years old. Hopefully those kinds of delays will soon be a thing of the past.