Dutch innovation: The Netherlands one of the world’s top patent-filing countries

Dutch innovation: The Netherlands one of the world’s top patent-filing countries

According to data released by the European Patent Office (EPO), the Netherlands was one of the top patent-filing countries in the world in 2021, with entrepreneurs and companies in the Netherlands filing almost 6.600 patents last year.

EPO Patent Index 2021: Innovation across the globe

Based in Munich, the EPO received 188.600 applications in 2021, up 4,5 percent on the previous year. Published earlier this month, their annual Patent Index revealed that patent filings rebounded significantly last year after a dip in 2020, likely as a result of the coronavirus pandemic

“[This increase] highlights the creativity and resilience of innovators in Europe and worldwide,” says EPO President António Campinos. "They have filed higher numbers of patent applications and the strong growth in digital technologies provides compelling evidence of the digital transformation taking place across all sectors and industries.”

According to the 2021 Patent Index, digital communications have overtaken medical technology as the field with the largest number of patent applications in Europe. Companies based in China showed the most growth, with the number of applications submitted by Chinese companies increasing by 24 percent between 2020 and 2021. Meanwhile, Switzerland submitted the highest number of applications per capita

The Netherlands one of the most innovative countries in the world

The Netherlands came in eighth place in the 2021 EPO list of countries with the most patent applications, with applications increasing by 3,1 percent compared to 2020 and businesses submitting a total of 6.581 applications to the EPO. 

Furthermore, with 383 patent applications submitted for every 1 million inhabitants, the Netherlands had the fourth-highest number of patent applications per capita, making it one of the most innovative countries in the world and far surpassing the EU average of just 155 applications. 

As a base for various international companies, including Philips and Signify, it’s not particularly surprising that the majority of applications submitted by Dutch businesses were in the medical technology field (e.g. pacemakers, prosthetics) with 884 applications. This was followed by electrical machinery, apparatus, and energy (e.g. magnets, power cables) with 564, and measurement (e.g. watches, navigation systems) with 349.

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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