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According to a report published by the European Patent Office last December, requests for patents in the field of the Internet of Things rose significantly in Europe across 2016.


The Internet of Things (IoT) is currently growing exponentially, with European companies making the most of this situation. This is the conclusion of the latest report from the European Patent Office (EPO), published on 11 December 2017, and which covers patents linked to what is being called the fourth industrial revolution or "4RI", and confirms the increase in the number of intellectual property titles in IoT in Europe in 2016.

The EPO received no fewer than 5,000 European IoT requests that year, and also recorded a 54% increase in requests relating to 4RI, compared with a 7.65% jump in requests in Europe overall, according to the website ObjetConnecté.com.


Connected devices on the rise


The European Patent Office recorded the greatest number of patent requests in the "connectivity" category and the "devices" and "business" sectors. The study also shows that the "artificial intelligence", "3D systems" and "user interfaces" categories experienced the highest growth rates.

According to the EPO, the connected devices relating to these patents are already having a significant effect in the fields of industrial manufacturing, transport, agriculture and health, before adding that "the most significant changes are still to come". Between 26 and 39 million connected devices are set to appear in factories, offices and homes by 2025, according the study.


South Korea and China at the forefront of innovation


The EPO report also takes into account the development of patents internationally, to give some context to the European figures. The study shows that 48% of 4RI patents issued between 2011 and 2016 were requested by the 25 most active companies, including 1,634 by Samsung, 1,125 by LG and 885 by Sony.

The USA, Japan and Europe – in particular France and Germany – are the zones according to the EPO where the largest number of patent requests were recorded in the 4RI sector, with growth rates at their highest in South Korea and China. 
While 4RI-related patents only made up some 3% of global requests in 2016, that figure has doubled since 2009.


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