Optimism in innovation investment as East of England patent applications increase in 2016


The number of European patent applications from applicants in the East of England rose by 11.2% last year, the highest growth in any UK region.

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The European Patent Office’s (EPO) annual report reveals that 604 applications came from the East of England in 2016, up from 538 in 2015.

The East of England remains the UK’s second most innovative region, behind London, which had 1,551 applications for European patents in 2016.

Region Applications in 2016 Growth from 2015
East Midlands 94 -13.0%
East of England 604 11.2%
Greater London 1551 -3.7%
North East England 57 -3.5%
North West England 560 6.1%
Northern Ireland 66 -15.4%
Scotland 247 0.4%
South East England 574 10.8%
South West England 484 6.1%
Wales 203 6.8%
West Midlands 449 6.1%
Yorkshire and the Humber 207 -13.8%
Total 5096 1.9%

The top 10 UK applicants for European patents in 2016 were:

Rank Applicant Number of patent applications
1 Rolls-Royce Plc 372
2 Unilever Nv/Plc 237
3 British Telecommunications Plc 177
4 Bae Systems Plc. 149
5 Primetals Technologies Limited 88
6 Glaxo Smith Kline Plc 81
7 Johnson Matthey Inc 80
8 Delphi Automotive Plc 74
9 Vodafone Group Plc 69
10 Dyson Technology Limited 62

Kirsteen Gordon, Patent Attorney and Cambridge Office Managing Partner at Marks & Clerk, one of the world’s leading intellectual property firms, commented on the report and its findings:

“Companies of all sizes – from multi-nationals to start-ups – and other organisations like universities rely on patents to commercialise their R&D, so they are a good indicator of R&D activity. Cambridge is an established innovation hub and its reputation for nurturing a range of high technology businesses in the last 50 years has made it attractive to world-leading companies to set up operations. So it’s unsurprising that the number of European patent applications from across the region has grown significantly, while numbers from other regions have dropped.

“European patents will continue to prove vital to Cambridge’s high-tech industries as we continue to commercialise our R&D post-Brexit. The European Patent Convention, which governs European patents, is not an EU convention. After the UK leaves the EU, UK applicants will continue to file European patent applications and applicants from around the world will continue to secure patent protection in the UK through the European patent system.”

The full EPO annual report for 2016 can be found here: www.epo.org/about-us/annual-reports-statistics/annual-report/2016


Patent and trade mark attorneys and solicitors

Marks & Clerk