In 2022, Belgian companies, universities and research institutes filed a record number of 2,604 patent applications with the European Patent Office (EPO). This is an increase of 5 percent compared to the previous year, which was also a record year, despite the global uncertainties, according to the EPO Patent Index on Tuesday.
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Belgium therefore experienced a sharper than average increase. In the 39 EPA member states there was an average increase in the number of applications of 0.1 percent, in the 27 European countries an average decrease of 0.5 percent. Belgium was ninth among the European countries.
In particular, the number of Belgian patent applications in the field of ‘special machines’ (technology for machines in various industries and 3D printing) saw a sharp increase of 52.4 percent, making this research area the leader in Belgium. Pharma (-1.7 percent), biotech (+12.6 percent) and medical technology (-8.3 percent) followed respectively.
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With 244 patent applications, chemical company Solvay was again the most active Belgian applicant to the EPO last year, followed by the Leuven research center imec (155 applications), KU Leuven (121), Umicore (102) and Ghent University (67).
Of the 2,604 Belgian applications, 66.4 percent came from companies or organizations in Flanders. Wallonia accounted for 19.3 percent, Brussels for 14.3 percent. Flanders was therefore ninth among the most important European regions in terms of applications. Flemish Brabant surpassed Antwerp as number one in the list of Belgian provinces.
Worldwide, the top 5 countries with the most patent applications at the EPO last year were the United States, Germany, Japan, China and France. The number of applications from China increased by 15.1 percent last year and has more than doubled over the past five years.
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