Finland shot ahead of the United States, Japan and China in several areas of technology, as shown by a survey of international patents commissioned by the Finnish Forest Industries Federation.
Inventions and companies’ activity in patenting are important indicators of dynamic and successful RDI work.
A new survey of international patents shows that Finland is among world leaders as regards development in several sectors of forest industry technology.
Judged by the strength of its patent portfolio, Finland is world leader in patents related to micro- and nanofibrillated cellulose, waste water and sludge treatment and recovery of lignin from black liquor.
As regards patents related to folding boxboard, moulded pulp and stickers and labels, Finland is among the top three countries in the world.
’For the Finnish forest industry, active interest in patents and the strong patent portfolio are a positive indication of its capability of renewal and its competitivity in global markets. The companies have invested in research and product development,’ says Marjaana Suorsa, Manager of Innovation Policy at the Finnish Forest Industries Federation.
Patent-related activity has been particularly lively in the Finnish forest industry giants Metsä Group, Stora Enso and UPM. Small and medium-sized forest companies have made relatively few patent applications up to 2020, the last year covered by the survey.
Inventions and patents have a great impact on the competitivity of the Finnish forest industry and its opportunities in the international market.
Suorsa points out that not every patent necessarily leads to a product, even though patents are an important indicator of RDI activity. The FFIF survey did not calculate a monetary value for the patents.
EU outdone by rest of world
Forest.fi asked Suorsa to compare the combined position of the EU member states with that of the rest of the world. The result showed that the rest of the world outperformed the EU as regards the number of patents and patent publications in most of the areas of technology included in the survey.
’Our survey showed that the USA and Japan in particular had a strong position. Also, China was very strong in some areas of technology,’ Suorsa says.
’This finding makes Finland’s placing in the comparison even more outstanding. You could say that Finland is a shining beacon in several areas of technology,’ Suorsa says.
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Finland’s national bioeconomy strategy stresses the importance of increasing the added value of bioeconomy. The long-term development of technology and products within the Finnish forest industry create new opportunities for the branch.
Our survey showed that the USA and Japan in particular had a strong position. Also, China was very strong in some areas of technology. This finding makes Finland’s placing in the comparison even more outstanding.
The patents also indicate that the sector works to promote sustainability. New solutions in materials and products can replace products based on fossil materials or otherwise burdening the environment. Inventions in the processing and protecting of wood support the long life cycle of wood products and thus the long-term binding of carbon in construction, for example.
The survey commissioned by the Finnish Forest Industries Federation examined patent publications in the years 2006–2020 in nine areas of technology. The survey was carried out by IP Analytics Karvonen and Turnip Innovations.
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/ Kathleen Mikitin
Would love to have more detail, especially on patents using cellulose to substitute for plastics.