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The eco brief. France is on the second step of the European podium for patent filings


The European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich. (FRANK LEONHARDT / DPA / AFP)

Who says patents says innovation. And who says innovation, says job creation at the end of the chain if everything goes as planned. The classification of the European Patent Office (EPO) is a positive signal in a news that could not be more anxiety-provoking in the midst of a pandemic: France is in second position in Europe for patent filings. What also put some ideas in place regarding the controversy over the capacities of our research industry in this tense health period.

France is the second European country to file patents behind Germany and ahead of Switzerland. Germany remains first but with patent applications down 3% while French applications increase by as much (+ 3%) with 10,500 projects last year despite the pandemic.

The national champions are the Central commission of nuclear energy (CEA), Safran (manufacturer of aircraft engines in particular), the glass and construction materials group Saint-Gobain, etc. Our industry continued to phosphorus during the crisis to prepare the performance and economy of tomorrow. The National Institute for Health and Medical Research (Inserm) is a leader in pharmaceutical products. On the regional side, after Ile-de-France, dynamism is particularly strong in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur.

Isn’t the fact that innovation is promising in the health sector paradoxical in the current context of a lack of vaccines? In reality, the confusion comes from an amalgamation. We must not confuse patents, upstream research and innovation, and downstream distribution chain. Research resulting from innovation does not produce its effects immediately. However, the situation we live in today is dictated by immediacy.

So, yes, contrary to appearances, innovations in the field of health carried patent applications in 2020. Medical technologies once again became the first sector of innovation, last year, ahead of the transport branch. A place that was occupied in 2019 by digital communication.

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