Rank: The Largest European IP Law Firms for PCT Filings 2020

According to the latest WIPO report, the number of PCT-based applications increased by 4% in 2020. Thus, despite all the economic hardships, innovation preserved its pace.

Given the continuously growing volume of the patents filed via WIPO, IP Pilot analyzed thousands of European applications to give you an overview of the largest European IP law firms representing PCT filings in the last year. As a result, the table presented at the end of the post shows the rank of the largest 50 European patent law firms for PCT filings in 2020.

The UK, Germany, and France were the three countries with the most significant proportion of PCTs represented by the local IP law firms.

Analysis of the IP Pilot‘s data presented in the table revealed interesting dynamics concerning PCT activities in Europe.

Except for Germany, the volume of PCTs represented was correlated with the size of the IP law firms from the European countries listed on the table. To be more precise, the European IP law firms that prosecuted the highest number of PCT patent filings in 2020 were also the most prominent in their respective jurisdictions. In Germany, however, the larger group of smaller local representatives worked on PCT-based cases.

Conventionally, the PCT filings are mainly represented on behalf of local clients, while international applicants tend to find the PCT representatives in their home countries. In this respect, the significant German firms specialized in establishing an international business, whereas the prominent firms from other European countries prioritized local applicants.

Let us provide some examples. The statistics show that the top firms from the UK and France also took the five leading positions in the rank.

To be more precise, French CABINET BEAU DE LOMÉNIELAVOIXPLASSERAUD IP, and British MEWBURN ELLIS LLP, MARKS & CLERK were among the largest ones for European PCT filings in 2020, while also being the leaders in the respective countries.

As for MEWBURN ELLIS LLP, the firm entered the top 10 last year and demonstrated a tremendous 58% increase in PCT filings since 2019. Given that PCTs are represented on behalf of local clients, the growth of the representative’s domestic business orientation is quite apparent. Indeed, as Patent-Pilot’s data revealed, the representative prosecuted the increasing number of applications on behalf of a British company – Nerudia Ltd.  

Along the same lines, large Dutch (VO (VEREENIGDE OCTROOIBUREAUX)), Italian (JACOBACCI & PARTNERS), Swedish (AWA), and Spanish (CLARKE, MODET & CO.) agents also were in the list of the 50 European IP law firms filing for PCT in 2020.

Considering the activities of the German agents, only EISENFÜHR SPEISER got to the top tier, even though Germany was among the leaders in overall PCT filing activities last year.

All other German IP law firms represented a roughly equal amount of PCT-based patent applications in 2020 that revolved around 200.

The prominent German agents, namely HOFFMANN EITLE and VOSSIUS & PARTNER, were not among the top 50 IP law firms most active in PCT filings. Only GRÜNECKER PARTG MBB, the second-largest representative in the country, held position number 20 in 2020.

The overall analysis of the IP law firms in Europe revealed that the number of PCTs correlated with the firm’s size. This demonstrates the strength of the domestic business orientation in the general firms’ strategy. The only exclusion from the rule was Germany which prominent patent firms prioritized international applicants.

In addition to that, another interesting observation is in place. If to look at the list of top 50 IP law firms filing for PCT worldwide presented in our previous blog post, representatives from EPO member states are not among them, even though European applicants were the significant users of WIPO. The possible explanation revolves around the strength of the European corporate IP departments, which would make it to the top 50, if included in the list.

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