Medical technology has been named the most popular patent filing category at the European Patent Office (EPO), according to its latest annual report.
There were 13,795 filings in the medtech category throughout 2018, up from 13,134 in 2017 – a 5% increase. It is the second consecutive year of growth in medtech filings, with the sector having seen 6.1% growth in the previous year.
The EPO’s latest annual report paints a positive picture of innovation overall, with patent applications to the EPO up 4.6% on the previous year. The most popular categories for new patents include digital communications (up 0.7%), computer technology (up 3.3%) and electrical machinery (up 4.7%).
The pace of innovation in the UK has also increased, with patent filings from the UK up 7.8%. The UK’s medtech sector has also seen significant growth, with application up 11.5% on last year.
Thomas Prock, a partner at Marks & Clerk, an intellectual property firm, commented on the report and its findings, saying: “New technologies such as AI and 3D printing are leading to enormous innovation in the medtech sector – with technological solutions being found for ever more health challenges. From allowing for better diagnosis and therefore less over-prescription of antibiotics to the emergence of sophisticated devices and algorithms that can replicate the human pancreas – medtech has an increasing role to play in healthcare.
“While the US continues to lead when it comes to medtech filings, we are seeing countries across Europe begin to close this gap. The medtech innovation coming out of the UK and Europe has the potential to lead to ground breaking new treatments and the creation of world beating enterprises. Protecting this innovation with intellectual property will be key as this industry grows, and begins to export its technology to the wider world.”