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France: Best country for innovation

On March 7, 2018, the European Patent Office (EPO) published its annual report 2017. France is one of the most innovative countries.


Each year, the European Patent Office (EPO) publishes its ranking of most innovative countries. In 2017, France was ranked 4th.


France is one of the most innovative countries, with 10,559 patent applications. The country is ranked fourth in the global ranking drawn by the EPO in its annual report for 2017. The United States, Germany and Japan lead the ranking, with respectively 42,300, 25,490 and 21,712 patents filed. China is fifth, with 8,330 patent applications. But Huawei, a Chinese company, leads the ranking of companies before the German group Siemens and Korean LG. With a rank of 19, Valéo is the first French company: the supplier of vehicle components filed 770 patents!


France encourages innovation

France leads in the car manufacturing industry, but also aeronautics and medical technologies. The EPO commented on the success: "France is back on the path of growth, which is a good sign for innovation in a context of overall economic recovery in France." The French tax scheme, and particularly the research tax credit ("crédit d'impôt recherche") is one of the reasons why the country is one of the most innovative in the world, according to Benoît Battistelli, president of the EPO. "France is well placed in the new technologic wave, and it is clear that without the research tax credit, the country wouldn't have reached this level."


2017, a good year for innovation

Though France is in the leading group, the year 2017 is a good year for global innovation, overall. The EPO received 166,000 patent applications, a 3.9% increase compared to the year before. After studying compliance, the EPO delivered 105,000 European patents: this is the first time that the symbolic figure of 100,000 patents is reached. Out of all patents filed in the EPO, 69% come from major groups, 24% from SMEs and 7% from universities and private research institutions. The top 15 of French patent applicants includes Valéo, Sanofi, Saint Gobain, PSA, L’Oréal, and the CNRS.



The European Patent Office

The EPO was created in 1977 to protect the propriety of inventions. The 38 member States of the organisation include the countries of the UE and neighbours such as Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Monaco or Turkey. Every year, the EPO publishes the ranking of countries and companies with most patent applications. The figures serve as an indicator in relation with the capacity to innovate of global players, because exporting major groups protect their innovations on the European market.