EPO information: Finland among the top countries in innovations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution

A study published in December 2020 by the European Patent Office (EPO) shows that the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) evolve nearly five times faster than the average of different technology fields. The study reveals that Finland has the largest innovation density in the world and a strong position in 4IR technology patents.

The EPO study shows that 4IR technology innovations have globally taken a giant leap forward during the last decade. Between 2010 and 2018 patent filings of these technologies increased almost 20% yearly on average. This is nearly five times faster than the average of all technology fields. These technologies concern smart connected objects and span the Internet of Things, big data, 5G and artificial data (AI).

Finland has the largest innovation density in the world and a strong position in 4IR technology patents

According to the study, Finland became the world leader in innovation density between 2000 and 2018. The number of inventions was 651 per one million inhabitants, which is over six times more than the European average (95). Finland overtook South Korea (525), Sweden (524), Japan (405) and the USA (249). Finland accounted for 1.4% of all 4IR technology patent applications filed during 2010–2018.

Even though Finland, in quantity, is a significant contributor to 4IR, the annual growth of 15% in Finland has been fairly slow compared to the rest of the world, where the annual growth rate has been 20%. In Europe, Finland accounted for 6.9% (in total 3 608), placing Finland sixth after Germany, UK, France, Sweden and the Netherlands.

Finnish expertise is emphasized in 4IR and is represented particularly well in connections, positioning, energy sources and data security.

The study also shows that innovations are concentrated in particular regions around the world. Helsinki is one of the top 4IR innovation clusters in Europe. On the European list, Helsinki is seventh after Eindhoven, London, Munich, Stockholm, Paris and Stuttgart.

Nokia continues among the top companies in 4IR technology patents

The company that has influenced Finnish innovativeness the most is Nokia, which applied for 4 205 patent families over the period 2000-2018. On the international list, Nokia is eighth among the world’s most innovative companies. Nokia accounted for more than half of the Finnish patent groups in 4IR technologies. Compared to the period 2000-2009 Nokia’s global position decreased in 2010–2018, when it dropped from fifth to ninth in the rankings. At the same time, Nokia’s share of all internationally filed patents declined from 1.8% to 1.5%. Despite the difficulties, Nokia has kept its position among the top ten companies in the world.

Nokia and Ericsson are currently the only European companies that have retained their positions on top of the world in 4IR innovations.

Read the full study and summary in English at epo.org/trends-4IR

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Latest update 28.12.2020