France ranks 2nd in Europe for the number of patents filed
2011 international rankings
France ranked second in Europe and 6th in the world for the number of patents filed: 7,664 international patents were filed in 2011. (INPI 2011)
Increase in the number of patent applications in France in 2013
With a total of 16,886 applications, the French National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) recorded an increase of 1.5% compared with 2012; almost 82% of these were filed electronically. This ranking takes account of published patent applications, i.e. those filed between July 1, 2011, and June 30, 2012, since patent applications are published 18 months after filing, in accordance with the law.
There are several reasons for this strong position:
The dynamism of French businesses, which are increasingly integrating industrial property into their development strategies. “Despite the crisis, the major groups that file patents are not ignoring industrial property. Innovation remains a key driver of growth in development strategies and strategies aimed at conquering new markets,” states Yves Lapierre, INPI’s Director General;
The support of a political strategy that is conducive to innovation: In 2012, the government embarked on a policy to promote innovation within the framework of the Pact for Growth, Competitiveness and Employment. “A new deal for innovation,” launched in 2013, sets a comprehensive goal: to make France a land of innovation, focusing on four strategic areas:
o innovation by all: to mobilize all forms of innovation, all talents in French society, by taking action on cultural constraints and promoting equal opportunities, by encouraging initiative, creativity, project work, the taste for industry and entrepreneurship, in all stages of training and within society;
o open innovation: to support ecosystem functioning, the transfer of knowledge and technology between research and businesses, and the interface between major groups and SMEs in our territory;
o Innovation for growth: to boost innovative companies and provide an environment that will allow them to grow and become the leaders of tomorrow;
o Public innovation: implement a coordinated, coherent and effective public innovation policy and create public policies that put citizens at the center of innovation.
The desire for European harmonization
In 2014, France was one of the first states to ratify the agreement on the unified jurisdiction that will establish the European unitary patent. The innovation policy goes beyond the French framework and forms part of a broader European framework.
The European unitary patent is a tangible example of the EU’s shift toward growth and employment. It’s a component of the European Pact for Growth and Employment promoted by the French president and agreed upon at the European Council in June 2012.
Effective government structures:
o France Brevets, the state investment fund dedicated to patent promotion created in 2011 (with a budget of €100 million, contributed in equal parts by the Caisse des Dépôts and the government within the framework of the Investment for the Future program) plays a role in a context marked by the establishment of sovereign patent funds in several countries in Asia (Intellectual Discovery in Korea, Industrial Technology Research Institute in Taiwan, Innovation Network Corporation of Japan in Japan).
o In addition to granting patents, trademarks and design rights and models, the INPI receives, supports and advises innovators while actively helping to draft and implement public policies on industrial property and combating counterfeiting.
Concrete measures to support innovation, for example:
o Tax measures: changes in the Young Innovative Companies mechanism, to ensure that innovation expenditure is taken into account in their tax deductions; introduction of the tax credit;
o Reform of the competitiveness clusters; strategy focusing on innovation and job creation, support for regional self-reliance, strategic vision for each industrial sector, coordination with all innovation stakeholders;
o Investment: bolstering the first Investment for the Future program by more than €2 billion, notably in order to provide support for innovation (digital, health-related and capital investment); announcement of a new future investment program amounting to €12 billion, one of the priorities of which is support for all forms of innovation.
The automotive sector remains the leading patent applicant
The most substantial increase came from the Renault group, with published patent applications increasing from 341 to 543 (+59.2%), moving from 8th to 4th place in the rankings. Schneider Electric also recorded a sharp increase, with published patent applications increasing from 105 in 2012 to 160 in 2013 (+52.4%), moving from 20th to 16th position. Alstom moved into the top 20, ranking 19th place (with 105 applications) in the 2013 listings.
Companies in the automotive sector still file the most patent applications, followed by the main industrial sectors: cosmetics, aeronautics, telecommunications, electronics, chemicals and energy.
Research institutions still rank among the top 20: The Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives (the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission) ranks 3rd, CNRS ranks 7th (408 applications published) and IFP Energies Nouvelles ranks 13th (188 applications published).
The top three positions are held by the same groups as last year, with only one variation among the three groups. PSA Peugeot Citroën retains its number one position with 1,378 patent applications published in 2013 (1,348 in 2012) The Safran group and the Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives swapped their rankings. The Safran group ranks 2nd, with the number of applications published increasing from 556 in 2012 to 645, followed by the Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives, with 625 applications published (566 applications published in 2012.)