The number of applications to the European Patent Office (the EPO) coming from Belgian investors and companies increased by 7% in 2016, to a record number, 2,184.
This was announced by the President of the institution, Benoit Battistelli, yesterday (Tuesday).
Belgium recorded the highest growth in patent applications amongst the European countries that submit the most applications to the EPO.
In total, the EPO recorded 159,353 patent applications, a stable figure compared to the previous year (160,004).
Amongst the 38 states using the Office, China (up by 24.8%) and South Korea (up by 6.5%) recorded the highest growth. In contrast, the U.S. (down by 5.9%), although the leader in terms of applications to the EPO, and Japan (down 1.9%) decreased.
In Belgium, where patent requests had already increased by 6% in 2015, the highest increases in 2016 were seen in the fine organic chemicals industry (up by 31.6%), biotechnologies (up by 30.4%) and the I.T. industry (up by 28.1%).
With 269 applications, Solvay was Belgium’s most active company in this sphere, ahead of the microelectronics and nanotechnologies centre Imec (169), Agfa-Gevaert (105) and Umicore (66). The universities of Ghent (55) and Leuven (31) are respectively ranked 7th and 10th in terms of patent applications for 2016.
At the regional level, Flanders leads the pack with 64.4% of Belgian applications overall, ahead of Wallonia (19.5%) and Brussels. On a provincial level, Flemish Brabant was the most active (having 16.9% of the total), whilst Namur recorded the highest growth (up by 43% relative to last year).