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R&D champ: number of patents in Flanders greatly increases

Flanders’ reputation as a major R&D force is evidenced by the number of patents applications in the region. In 2019, Belgian companies and researchers applied for 2,423 patents – a new record – at the European Patent Office (EPO). More than 1,500 of these applications came from Belgium’s northern region, Flanders.  

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Growing much more than the EU average

The number of applications from Belgium was 3.2% higher than in 2018. This is a significantly larger increase than the EU average (+0.9%). It was the second increase in a row for Belgium, after a decrease in applications in 2017. “The solid growth seen over the past two years shows the strength of the local R&D infrastructure,” says EPO president António Campinos in a press release. “This innovation ecosystem is based on an extremely diverse mix of companies, research institutes and universities.”  

Leading industries

Over 1,500 of Belgian patent applications came from Flanders. With 409 applications, Flemish Brabant is the new frontrunner among the region’s provinces, closely followed by Antwerp. Chemical company Solvay was the most active last year (306 applications), followed by imec (174) – Flanders’ strategic research center for digital innovation and nanotech – and materials technology firm Umicore (89). The largest increase (51%) was recorded in Flanders’ transport sector, including the automotive industry.  

About Belgium and Flanders

With Dutch as its official language, Flanders (Dutch: Vlaanderen) is the autonomous northern region of Belgium. The capital of both Belgium and Flanders is Brussels. 

More info

European Patent Office
Reported by
10 July 2020

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