The German medical technology industry generates one third of its turnover from products less than three years old. However, this is only one indicator for the high level of Germany’s innovative strength. In terms of all European patent applications made in 2012, Germany holds a share of around 18 percent of the 148,494 patent applications registered at the European Patent Office (EPO). With 10,412 patent applications in 2012, the medical technology sector is leading Germany’s sectors from the front. From a global perspective, Germany was second only to the US in terms of number of medical technology patent applications in 2012.
Research and Product Development
The approximately 1,200 companies (each with more than 20 employees) active in the medical technology sector invest around nine percent of their turnover in R&D. Close cooperation between Germany’s R&D institutes and equipment manufacturers, not to mention a plethora of in-house R&D facilities, helps to maintain an internationally unparalleled competitive edge. R&D is considered to be among the most important areas for the development of the German economy. R&D projects can count on numerous types of financial support in the form of grants, interest-reduced loans, and special partnership programs, some especially created for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Many collaborative projects are coordinated medical technology cluster organisations with centralized management and project management staff.