A recent study by Thomson Reuters shows that the UK fell significantly behind its major European competitors, France and Germany, in the number of patents filed in 2014. Patents originating from Germany numbered over 56,000 during the year, with French companies filing just over 11,500. By contrast, applicants from the UK filed just 6,619.
Patents for German Technology
Germany is home to a number of leading technology companies, all of which are investing a significant amount in research and development. In particular, it is the base for some of the world’s leading automotive brands, and this area remains highly competitive in terms of innovation. Similarly, French companies include some of the biggest health and beauty brands. In the UK, just three companies were mentioned by the report as being global innovation competitors – British American Tobacco, Unilever and GlaxoSmithKline. The UK was also mentioned for the quality of its academic research and development, with institutions like Imperial College London and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute acknowledged for their contribution.
However, companies from other countries continue to apply for patents in higher numbers than those in the UK, potentially putting it at a disadvantage economically. There are also instances where innovations that originated in the UK are being developed and patented from elsewhere.
Innovation in the UK
There are of course still many highly innovative businesses in the UK. It must be remembered that patents are not the only way to protect or profit from innovation. This is particularly true for products expected to have a short life cycle.
Patent Advice from SH&P
For objective patent advice across a wide range of technologies, talk to the team at Stevens Hewlett & Perkins. Our patent attorneys work with clients to apply for and maintain patent protection in the UK and across the world. We take the time to understand the needs of your business and your plans for the future, so that we give you appropriate and relevant advice. We also work with clients’ existing portfolios to ensure that their patent rights are well managed.
Your initial consultation with us is completely free, so contact your nearest office today to book an appointment.