The EPO Chief Economist unit aims to provide high-level expertise and analysis and to foster well-informed policy debate on issues relating to patents, innovation and economic growth. It develops projects to help the EPO understand better how patents are used and what their economic impact is. Externally it promotes the EPO as a major player in the public arena (in academia, expert forums and the press, among policymakers, etc.).
Academic Research Programme
The EPO Academic Research Programme provides financial support for rigorous research projects that set out to produce empirical evidence with relevant implications for policymakers and business in Europe.
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High-growth firms and intellectual property rights: the IPR profile of high-potential SMEs in Europe
Produced jointly by the EPO and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), this study looks at the use of IPR by high-growth SMEs and analyses how these firms shape their IPR strategies prior to experiencing high growth. The study shows that IPR activity can be used as a leading indicator of future SME success by policymakers, potential investors or business partners wishing to identify high-growth firms at an early stage in their development.
Patents and self-driving vehicles: the inventions behind automated driving
This study provides a comprehensive picture of current trends and emerging leaders in self-driving vehicle technologies. Drawing on the EPO's most recent patent information, including as yet unpublished patent applications, and incorporating advanced technology expertise in the field, it is a unique source of intelligence which will enable policy-makers and industry leaders to understand and anticipate the significant changes that are on the way.
Patents and the Fourth Industrial Revolution: the inventions behind digital transformation
This study, which has been carried out by the EPO in co-operation with the Handelsblatt Research Institute, is intended to provide users of the European patent system and the broader public alike with information about a major technology trend that is being observed across a whole range of technical fields. Known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, this trend is primarily driven by the emergence of the Internet of Things. It also encompasses a number of other technologies, such as cloud computing and artificial intelligence.
Patents, trade and foreign direct investment in the European Union
This study (November 2017) finds that the greater harmonisation of Europe’s patent system that will be achieved with the Unitary Patent will increase trade and FDI in high-tech sectors and in doing so boost technology transfer within the EU.
EPO SME case studies
The case study series focuses on European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are successfully using patents for their business. They give concrete examples of how SMEs can leverage intellectual property to create value and growth, and provide a review of good practices in IP strategy and management.
Economic research agenda
The Chief Economist unit aims to produce evidence-based research and advanced analysis on a range of policy issues relevant to the EPO.
- Role of patents in economic growth, performance and employment
- Economic analysis of the European patent system and the expected impact of the forthcoming unitary patent and Unified Patent Court
- Development of new patent-based indicators and analysis of trends and policy issues, particularly in technology fields related to climate change and Industry 4.0
- Economic analysis of the role of patents in the development of markets for technology
Main external partner organisations
- Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO)
- European Commission (EC)
- European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO)
- International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD)
- • National and international patent offices
- Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
- United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)