Patent applications from Portugal to EU at record high in 2021

  • Lusa
  • 5 April 2022

According to the EPO Patent Index 2021, published on Monday, the number of patent applications coming from Portugal to this European body increased by 13.9% in 2021.

Patent applications made in Portugal to the European Patent Office (EPO) reached a record high in 2021, with an increase of 13.9% to 286, one of the highest rises among European countries, it was announced.

According to the EPO Patent Index 2021, published on Monday, the number of patent applications coming from Portugal to this European body increased by 13.9% in 2021, reversing the negative trend of the previous year, when patent applications fell by 7.7%.

“It is the strongest growth in Europe – among countries with more than 200 patent applications – and more than five times the average rate of the European Union 27 of 2.7%,” the EPO highlights in a press release.

Thus, last year, Portuguese companies, research organisations and universities submitted 286 patent applications to the EPO, the highest annual volume to date, which compares with totals of 251 in 2020 and 272 in 2019.

Among the main applicants for patents in Portugal to this European institute are the Portuguese artificial intelligence startup for payment fraud prevention Feedzai (17), the University of Minho (13), the Portuguese health startup Sword Health (12), Novadelta, of the Nabeiro Group (11), the University of Porto (nine), the Polytechnic Institute of Leiria (seven), the University of Aveiro (seven), OLI Sistemas Sanitários (six), the Forestry and Paper Research Institute RAIZ (six) and the marine technology company Abyssal (five).

Among these top 10 Portuguese patent applicants, half are universities or research institutes, “which makes them key players in boosting innovation in Portugal”, highlights the EPO.

By regions, the North once again leads the regional ranking, but its share fell to 40% compared to 56.2% the previous year.

On the other hand, the Centre region saw its patent applications rise 133.3%, and now holds a share of 31.9% of total patent applications originating in Portugal, compared to 15.7% the previous year.

By sectors, computer technology applications more than tripled in 2021 (from 10 to 32), making it the technological area with the most patent applications in Portugal.

In second place were patent applications in biotechnology, which grew by 82.4%, while medical technology, the previous leader, came third, with a drop in patent applications of 3.3%.

In Europe as a whole, the EPO received a total of 188,600 patent applications in 2021, an increase of 4.5% after a slight decrease in 2020, with digital communication and computer technology seeing the strongest growth.

By companies, Asians lead the ‘ranking’ of European applications, with Chinese manufacturer Huawei leading patent applications with the EPO in 2021 (as in 2019), followed by the 2020 leader, South Korean technology company Samsung, and then electronics firm LG.

Quoted by the note, the president of the EPO, Portuguese António Campinos, notes that “the high demand for patents last year shows that innovation has remained robust.”

The EPO is one of the largest public service institutions in Europe working with a centralised procedure for patents valid in 44 countries and covering a market of 700 million people.