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In 2022, Belgian companies, universities and research institutions submitted 2,604 patent applications to the European Patent Office (EPO). This record ranks Belgium 9th for patent applications per capita and 13th overall. No less than 66% of the Belgian applications came from companies or organizations headquartered in the country’s northern region of Flanders. With 1729 applications, Flanders comes in at number 10 in the EPO’s ranking of European regions.

Driven by Flanders’ strong R&D ecosystem

Looking at Belgium’s main patent applicants, the top 10 mainly features companies and research institutions from Flanders: eight to be precise. These include three of Flanders’ four strategic research centers:

Furthermore, the top 10 Belgian applicants include two of Flanders’ universities (KU Leuven at number 3 and UGent at number 5). The ranking also features some of the region’s most R&D-driven companies: Agfa-Gevaert, Ontex and Melexis. Evidently, Flanders’ focus on fostering a strong R&D ecosystem – with the private, public and academic sectors closely working together – continues to bear fruit.

Flagship innovation domains

Among Belgium’s and Flanders’ most R&D-driven industries, some flagship domains stand out. These include pharmaceuticals (8.7% of the total number of patent applications), biotechnology (7.5%) and medical technology (6%).

Reported by
EWI Vlaanderen website

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