4iP News

​EPO releases survey data on role of (patent) information in the innovation process

16 June 2017

The European Patent Office (EPO) has just published the results of a survey, conducted anonymously, in order to test the assumption that the patent system supports innovation.

The European Patent Office (EPO) has just published the results of a survey, conducted anonymously, in order to test the assumption that the patent system supports innovation.

In order to have unbiased respondents from across the board, the survey that was not branded as a "patent information" survey and was promoted by EU trade federations and associations, rather than the EPO. The survey was conducted on-line over a six weeks period between October and November 2016.

Main findings:

  • 70% of the innovators who took part in the survey use patent information as a source of information.
  • 72% of them rate patent information as important or very important for their innovation work.
  • The EPO is by far the preferred source of patent information, confirming its position as leading provider: 75% of respondents use EPO products including Espacenet, followed by DPMA/ DEPATISnet 30%, USPTO 21% and WIPO/PATENTSCOPE 17%.
  • Of the four phases in the innovation process, innovators use patent information the most in the applied research and development/prototyping phases, and the least in the fundamental research phase.
  • Patent information is predominantly used as a source of technical and legal information but lags behind with business information.
  • Large enterprises use patent information more than SMEs.
  • The three main barriers that deter innovators from using patent information are:
    • lack of awareness of its benefits
    • lack of knowledge of where to access it
    • its perceived complexity.

A slide set on the survey results and an overview of the EPO’s plans to make patent patent information more accessible can be found here.