The European Patent Office (EPO) recently published a Patent index [1] revealing interesting trends for patent applications filed in 2021.

A new record of 188000 patent applications were filed at the EPO in 2021, compared with 180417 in 2020, corresponding to an increase of 4.5%. Among these applications 44% originated from EPO member states (half from Germany, France and Switzerland), 25% from the US and 25% from Japan, China and Korea combined. After several years of consecutive growth, and a drop in the number of applications in 2020, the level of innovation is now bouncing back.

China filed 16665 applications representing an impressive 24% growth. In comparison Germany filed 25969 applications and the UK 5627 applications.

The top three technical fields were Digital communication, Medical technology and Computer technology, with 15400, 15321 and 14671 applications respectively. Unsurprisingly Pharmaceutical and biotechnologies also increased their filing by 6.9% and 6.6%, respectively.

The EPO lists 35 different fields of technology. If you are curious to see how a particular filed of technology is performing, the EPO has provided an interactive tool [2] to visualise filing per countries and technology.

More generally, investigating patent statistics in a particular area can be a good way of identifying trends and opportunities. Sophisticated software tools can be used to generate a patent landscape within a specific area of technology. This can be used to identify clusters where innovation is particularly buoyant as well as area which may be underdeveloped.

Several patent office’s publish patent landscapes reports [3] which can provide useful initial information into a specific area. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) also provides a tool [4] for retrieving existing patent landscapes centrally.

If you want to go further into Patent Analytics contact one of our Patent attorneys who can guide you into the various type of searches and competitor analysis that can be provided.


At Scintilla, we help innovative companies get a grip on their intellectual property. Our unique commercial approach combines registration of patents and trade marks with strategic input so that IP can be a springboard for business growth. If you would like to discuss your IP needs, do contact us or book a free initial consultation!