Patent applications and patent applications in Societal Challenges

The number of patents per unit of GDP indicates the relative investment in innovation that businesses are making. The total number of patent applications is a proxy of innovative effort, while Patents in Societal Challenges indicates applications in environment- and health-related technologies.

We report the number of patent applications filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty, at international phase, designating the European Patent Office (EPO). Patent counts are based on the priority date, the inventor’s country of residence and fractional counts. As a proxy of innovation, it is problematic in many sectors (e.g. services, finance, health care, agriculture), and thus affected by a country’s sectoral mix. The unit of GDP is a billion euros, normalized to Purchising Power Standard.

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Paul Wouters, director of the Centre for Science and Technology Studies at the University of Leiden, talks with the Social Observatory of “la Caixa” about new tendencies in research evaluation.