Study shows surge in European AM patent applications
EPO report shows health, energy and transportation represent largest swath of AM patent applications.
According to a study from the European Patent Office (EPO), patent applications for additive manufacturing surged in Europe at an average annual rate of 36% from 2015 to 2018 – more than ten times greater than the average yearly growth of all applications combined in the same period.
European countries accounted for 47% (or 7,863) of all AM patent applications filed at EPO between 2010 and 2018, led by Germany which generated 19% (or 3,155) of all AM patent applications. Among the other European countries, Spain, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and the Netherlands also show a pattern of specialization in AM patenting. Worldwide, the US accounted for 35% (or 5,747) of the additive manufacturing applications to the EPO.
In addition, the report indicates AM applications have focused on the health, energy and transportation industries. Since 2010 the use of AM in the health sector has generated the greatest demand for patents (4,018 applications), followed by energy and transportation, both filing significant patent application volumes (2,001 and 961 applications respectively). Rapid growth was also observed in areas such as industrial tooling, electronics, construction and consumer goods, and the food sector.
The analysis shows that the top 25 applicants accounted for about 30% (or 6,548) of all AM patent applications filed between 2000 and 2018. Led by large US firms General Electric and United Technologies, with Europe’s Siemens in third place, as well as pure 3D-printing specialists such as Stratasys, 3D Systems and EOS. The US and Europe also dominate the ranking overall, with 11 US and eight European companies among the top 25 applicants.
The full report – “Patents and additive manufacturing – Trends in 3D printing technologies” – is available on the European Patent Office website.