The Patents and additive manufacturing report published by the European Patent Office (EPO) shows that the UK is the second largest European contributor to AM innovation, accounting for five percent of all AM patent applications at the European Patent Office (EPO), with Germany leading the field with 19 percent.

Highlighting the UK’s position as a European hub for innovation in 3D printing, the report revealed the city of Derby at number seven in a ranking of 15 major European innovation centres for AM technologies, with Munich, Barcelona and Zurich taking the top positions.

The volume of AM patent applications filed by businesses in Europe increased at an average annual rate of 36 percent from 2015 to 2018 – over ten times faster than the average yearly growth of all applications at the EPO combined, in the same period (3.5%).

European inventors and businesses accounted for almost half of all AM patent applications filed with the EPO in the period from 2010 to 2018.

James Gray, partner and patent attorney at European intellectual property firm, Withers & Rogers, said:

These statistics are positive for both the UK and Europe, confirming that activity around 3D printing technologies remains strong, despite challenging market conditions.

“It is excellent to see the UK recognised both for its regional innovation hubs, but also as a highly specialised player, boasting one of the highest degrees of specialisation in AM patenting in Europe. The UK has a long-standing history as a driver of innovation and the EPO’s latest report offers clear evidence of its sustained momentum and investment.”