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Innovation in Flanders: 1,400 patent applications in 2016

In its newly-published annual report, the European Patent Office (EPO) translates Flanders’ innovative culture into numbers. In 2016, an impressive 2,184 patent applications were filed in Belgium and Flanders as a region. 64% of those applications (1,397) were submitted by Flanders-based companies. 

8th most innovative in Europe

The inventiveness of Europe’s leading economies is also reflected in the ratio of patent applications to their populations. With 191 applications per million inhabitants, Belgium – and Flanders as a region – is the 8th most innovative economy in Europe. The EPO eventually patented 1,114 inventions, an increase of 27.6% in comparison to 2015.   

Proven expertise

The 2,184 filed applications coming from Belgian and Flanders-based companies represent an increase of 7% compared to last year. This number illustrates the region’s leading position when it comes to innovation.

“We’re bypassing the rest of the world,” Johan Brants says, owner of the patent agency Brantsandpatents. “In order to stimulate innovation even more, the Belgian government has made it fiscally interesting to file for patents in our country.” Brants expects this new legislation to boost the number of filed applications even further in 2017.

Chemical and pharma sector top the list

With 842 filed applications – 16% more than in 2015 –, the chemical and pharma sectors are the undisputed patent application leaders. The EPO granted 360 patents in these sectors, another record number.

As in 2015, chemical company Solvay filed the most applications (269). Leading research center in nanoelectronics imec ranks second (169), digital imaging systems group Agfa-Gevaert lands third place (105).

More info

European Patent Office (EPO)
Reported by
“De Tijd” newspaper
13 March 2017

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