Europe 03 Apr 2020

Sweden is #2 in the world in EP applications per capita

The number of filed European patent applications continues to increase, according to a report from the European Patent Office, EPO. Most applications were within the fields of digital communication, followed by medical technology and computer technology. China increased the number of patent applications with the EPO by almost 30% and Sweden remained in second place on the list of most patent applications per inhabitants.

Only half of the applications filed with the EPO originates from European countries
In the annual report from the EPO, the office has made an analysis of filed European patent applications. Since the survey started in 2012, the number of applications has increased steadily. The latest report states that in 2019, 181,406 patent applications were filed to the EPO, which corresponds to an increase by 4% compared to the previous year. Just under half (45%) of these patent applications originates from European countries, with Germany as the largest country of origin (15%). As a result, the other share of patent applications with the EPO, does many other non-European countries account for. The U.S. accounts for 25% of the applications, Japan for 12%, China 7% and South Korea 5%. Patent applications from China to the EPO have increased by an incredible 29% from the previous year.

Digital communication dominates

Patent applications within the technology field of digital communication increased by 20% from the previous year, and computer technology increased by 10%. Together with medical technology in place two, which only increased by 1%, these three fields make up the top list of the technology fields that most patent applications were filed within. The large increase in digital communication and computer technology, EPO believes it derives to innovation regarding industry 4.0, AI and 5G.

The top technology fields are reflected in the list of companies that have filed the most applications. Chinese Huawei tops the list, followed by Samsung and LG. Thereafter, United Technologies (aerospace) and Siemens. The Swedish corporate Ericsson has place number seven on the list of top-filers.

Sweden and Ericsson are among the top-filers

Sweden accounts for 4381 patent applications with the EPO, which corresponds to 2% of all applications filed. The country is ranked number 11 on the list of countries of origin. However, adjusted by size of population, Sweden is the second most diligent country in filing patent applications. Switzerland tops the list of applications per inhabitants with Denmark, The Netherlands and Germany in places three to five.

Sweden was also the European country with the largest percentual increase, 8%, in the number of patent applications compared to the previous year. It was only China, South Korea and Canada that had a higher growth rate. Most European countries increased their number of applications slightly while Germany remained at the same level as last year, and France and the Netherlands decreased.

With its 1616 applications, Ericsson accounts for the largest proportion of patent applications from Sweden (37%). The company is ranked seventh in the top list of companies that have filed the most applications with the EPO during the analyzed year.


The statistics is derived from the EPO Annual Report for 2019. The report also contains more statistics as well as infographics. Click here to view the full rapport>>

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