Lithuanians file the most patent applications in the Baltics

Authors: dr. Jacekas Antulis, Associated Partner, Head of the Patent Division at METIDA, dr. Eugenijus Keras, consultant at METIDA

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Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian patent offices have issued official patent statistics profiling patenting activity in 2014. In this blog article we will discuss the dynamics of the filing of national patent applications in the last five years, as well as look through the European patents that took effect last year in the aforementioned countries.

When it comes to the measuring of the patenting intensity (level) by country during a particular period of time, the comparison should be drawn between the quantities of the filed patent applications, rather than between the amounts of the patent grants, as the granting period after the filing date may vary.

In 2014 Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians filed 165 (120 of them were filed by Lithuanians), 107 (102 of them were filed by Latvians) and 50 (44 of them were filed by Estonians) patent applications respectively at their national patent offices.

Graph 1 shows the dynamics of the filed applications in the last five years after having evaluated the population of every country. The vertical axis marks the number of applications (filed by a local applicant) per one million inhabitants.

In comparison, according to the European Patent Office (EPO), the average number of the EU countries is 129 patent applications per one million people. Switzerland, Sweden and Finland are leaders in this matter (832, 402 and 360 applications respectively).

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Graph 1. Patent applications per one million inhabitants in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia

Since 2010 Lithuania has not experienced any major changes, i.e. the number of the filed applications has been stable and moderately rising. This increase may be influenced by the wider and more intensive use of the financial support for the patenting.

As graph indicates, Latvia was the leader among other Baltic states up to 2013, but experienced a drastic decline in 2014. There is no single agreement to explain what caused this reduction. It is possible, that the numbers dropped off due to the end of the EU funding, which was mostly used by academic institutions, and a lot of the patent applications in Latvia were filed on behalf of the academic institutions.

Estonia also shows a drop in numbers between 2010 and 2012, when the lowest number of filed applications was reached in 2012. Yet, there was a rise in 2013 and 2014. This fluctuation might have been caused by the economic success in Estonia in 2010 and 2011, as then the number of filed applications was the highest. METIDA representatives in Estonia suggest that Estonia’s euro adoption in 2011 might have had impact on this decline too. Also, the development of Estonian innovative companies could have influenced this decrease, as instead of the Estonian patent office, more and more applications are being filed to the European, U.S and other patent offices.

As for the EU patents that took effect in the Baltic states last year, no trends have been observed in patent term extension per certain number of people (e.g. countries with higher population have more patent extensions.) All three countries are equally important, as the numbers of the extended EU patents per year do not dramatically differ from each other. Fluctuations by year also appear to be very similar.

Thus the statistics only confirms that when it comes to the patent term extension, all Baltic states are taken into account. In 2014 U.S., Germany, Switzerland and France filed the most patent extensions (54,9% of all extensions). In 2014 Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia received 1247, 1288 and 1250 patent term extensions respectively (in 2013 the numbers were 1309, 1242 and 1345 respectively).

Graph 2 shows the tendency and statistics of the EU patent extensions in the last five years.

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 Graph 2. EU patent extensions in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia

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