Central results of the data analysis
Summary: Major findings
The following section integrates the main figures of the ESGI sample and briefly presents the central results of the data analysis:
1. Content of the database:
The ESGI inventor and patent database consists of 157 645 patent applications to the European Patent Office with priority year 2001, 2002 and 2003. The sample includes the data of 388 844 inventors of which 360 844 or 93% have a residence address in one of the European Union Member States.
2. Geographical distribution of inventors
German inventors clearly dominate the European patenting activities. 46.9% of all inventors have a German residence address. Inventors from France count up for 13.6% followed by Great Britain with 10.2% and Italy as well as the Netherlands with 7.0% each.
3. First name database:
On the basis of an existing first name database, containing names from six countries, the project developed the extended first name database “FNDB ESGI”. It includes a total of 11 301 names from 27 European countries. FNDB ESGI proved to be an efficient tool for the gender assignment of inventor’s names in the inventor and patent database.
4. Success rate of gender assignment
93% of all inventors with a residence address in the EU-27 were classified as male or female. The success rate for the 27 different EU Member States ranges from 100% to 81%.
5. Share of female inventors
Out of all European inventors 8.3% are women and 91.7% are men, meaning that out of 10 inventors approximately one is a woman. Pronounced differences between the different countries are found for this indicator. The female proportions ranges from 23.1% for the best achieving country Lithuania to 4.8% for the least achieving country Austria. It stands out that the highest proportions of female inventors are found in the Eastern European Union Member States which in contrast are low in absolute numbers of patent applications. Germany, the leading country in patenting activities in general, reaches a female share of 6.1% only. Thus, this striking disproportion particularly lowers the European average.
6. Female contribution by country
The indicator contribution (patent-equivalents) generally is lower than the female share of inventors and sums up to 6.3% for the EU-27 average. These 2 Summary: Major findings 2 comparatively lower shares indicate that women invent in larger groups than men do.
7. Female contribution by technical units
All patent applications were allocated to eight sections and 31 technical units. Concluding these findings the dominance of women in section A “Human necessities” and C “Chemistry/Metallurgy” is pronounced. Female researchers invent most often in pharmacy (22.7%) and biotechnology related technologies (22.2%) where approximately one out of four patents is filed by a woman. High rates are also found in chemistry related areas while the female activities are low in the mechanical, construction, physics and electrical sections.
8. Inventors by institutional sector
The business enterprise sector clearly dominates the patenting activities in the European Union since 87.8% of all patents are applied for by inventors from the business enterprise sector. The other sectors reach shares of 3.9% (individuals), 2.0% (higher education), 1.8% (government), 1.9% (private non-public) and 0.1% (hospital). A total of 2.5% inventors could not be allocated to a sector.
9. Female inventors by institutional sector
In the business enterprise sector the female proportion counts up to 7.9%, meaning that out of 100 patents only 12 were applied by women, whereas 88 were applied by men.
10. Patent/Inventor ratio
Compared to the general distribution, women generally apply for patents in those technological areas where larger groups are present.