Sweden top in Europe for patent applications

Sweden files more patent applications in Industry 4.0 than any other European country, according to a study by the Swedish Patent and Registration Office (PRV).

Sweden top in Europe for patent applications
Technological innovation is experiencing a revolution. Photo: Wally Santana/TT

Industry 4.0, commonly known to as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, refers to ideas such as nuclear technology, enabling technology and cloud computing, among others. 

With 2,600 applications between 2010 and 2016, Sweden's is responsible for over a fourth of all European applications. However, it still ranks fifth in the world behind USA, China, South Korea and Japan. 

And one company is driving Sweden's high performance. Communication technology giant Ericsson makes up the majority of Sweden's applications with 83 percent coming from them alone.

Developments in nuclear technology have been the biggest contributor while enabling technology, comprised of advances in artificial intelligence and geo-positioning, came in second. The least popular area was applied technology which constitutes ideas related to vehicles and infrastructure.

PRV analyzed the 2010-2016 period and found that Swedish applications showed 25 percent growth in Industry 4.0 compared to Europe's ten percent and the global 21 percent.

But, Peter Strömbäck, director general of PRV, believes there are many small companies that could be in the patent market but just don't have the awareness to protect their inventions.

“We suspect that there is an untapped potential of smaller companies that develop different application techniques and want to invest internationally,” Strömbäck said in a statement.

“Given that global competition is increasing all the time, not least from Asia, it is important to raise the level of knowledge about intangible assets and how to protect them.”

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