Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics significantly increased the number of patent applications in Europe last year as part of their efforts to preoccupy the next-generation information technology (IT) market, such as autonomous driving, smartphone and communications. In particular, the two companies accounted for 66 percent of the patent applications filed by Korea in Europe last year, helping South Korea maintain its status as a patent powerhouse in Europe.
The number of patent applications filed by South Korean companies with the European Patent Office (EPO) last year stood at 7,296, up 13 percent from 6,457 a year earlier, according to an annual report from the EPO and industry sources on March 12. It shows the highest growth among the top 10 countries in terms of patent application filed with the EPO. It also represented the highest increase for Korea over the last six years.
For reference, the EPO accepted a total of 174,317 patent applications last year, a 4.6 percent growth from the previous year.
By country, the United States ranked first with 43,612 patent applications last year, followed by Germany with 26,734, Japan with 22,615, France with 10,317, China with 9,401 and Switzerland with 7,927. South Korea ranked seventh, moving up a notch from eighth in 2017.
Samsung Electronics filed 2,449 patent applications last year, taking third place in the world after Siemens AG and China’s Huawei Technologies Co. Samsung’s patent applications surged 21.5 percent on-year last year, showing the biggest increase among the top 10 companies. Samsung filed 624 patent applications in the autonomous driving sector from 2011 to 2017, taking the first spot in Europe, and the company maintained its top place in the sector last year.
LG ranked fourth with 2,376 patent applications, up 15.6 percent from a year ago. Following Samsung and LG, United Technologies Corp., Philips LLC, Qualcomm Inc., Ericsson Inc., General Electric Co. and Bosch Corp. rounded out the top 10 list.
The combined number of patent applications filed by Samsung and LG in the EPO reached 4,825 last year, taking up 66 percent of Korea’s total. POSCO filed the most number of patent applications with 128 after the two companies, followed by Hyundai with 91 and Doosan with 54. Samsung and LG filed patent applications mainly in the IT sector. Samsung came in second in computer technology after Microsoft Corp., moving up two notches, fourth in ICT and 10th in medical technology. LG ranked first in electronic device and mechanism and energy and seventh in ITC.