5G and AI as growth drivers
The president of the European Patent Office (EPO) says: “The fast growth in the number of patent applications for digital technologies is the most visible trend “. According to the patent-index that is published by the EPO on a yearly basis, the fields of digital communication and computer technology experienced the biggest growth in 2019. This underlines the key role of these fields in the digital transformation that permeates all sectors and industrial areas.
The number of patent applications concerning digital communication has increased by almost 20 % and has thereby surpassed the number of patent applications in medical technology. One important part of digital communication thereby consists of technologies for implementing 5G-networks. The second largest increase was experienced in the field of computer technologies (+10 %). Thereby, applications concerning artificial intelligence (AI), in particular machine learning, pattern recognition, image data processing and generation as well as data retrieval were most prominent.
Patent applications in the technical fields of transport, in particular automotive, as well as electrical machinery and energy also recorded a solid growth of more than 6 % and 5 %, respectively.
72 % of the patent applications submitted with the EPO originate from larger enterprises, 18 % from small and medium-sized enterprises and sole inventors, and 10 % from universities and research institutions. These numbers confirm the attractivity of the European patent system also for small and medium-sized enterprises.