An international patent survey shows that Finnish forest industry companies are at the forefront of technology in developing new products for the forest industry. Finnish companies are among the global leaders in patents related to the treatment of microfibrillated and nanofibrillated cellulose, wastewater and sludge, as well as the recovery of lignin from black liquor.

Inventions and patents related to wood processing have a major impact on the competitiveness and opportunities of the Finnish forest industry in the international market. A new patent survey shows that Finland is one of the world leaders in several areas of the forest industry.

Examined by the strength of the patent portfolio, Finland ranked first in the world in patents related to microfibrillated and nanofibrillated cellulose, wastewater and sludge treatment and the recovery of lignin from black liquor. Finland is also among the top three countries in the world in terms of patents related to folding carton, moulded fibre, stickers and labels.

The Finnish forest industry giants Metsä Group, Stora Enso and UPM are particularly active on the patent front. On the other hand, relatively few SMEs were detected in patent analyses.

Patent activity indicates a strong belief in the future and a search for solutions

The updated national bioeconomy strategy published in April last year highlighted the importance of increasing the added value of bioeconomy. The long-term technological development of the Finnish forest industry and the discovery of new high added value application areas create new opportunities for the industry.

“The high patenting activity of forest industry companies in Finland and the strength of their patent portfolio demonstrate the industry's ability to renew itself and compete in global markets,” says Marjaana Suorsa, Manager of Innovation Policy at the Finnish Forest Industries Federation.

Patents also reflect the industry's work to promote sustainable development. New material and product solutions can be used to replace fossil-based or other products that have a negative impact on the environment. Inventions related to the processing and protection of wood, on the other hand, promote the long-term use of wood and, therefore, its long-term carbon sequestration, in activities such as construction.

The survey, commissioned by the Finnish Forest Industries Federation, examined patent publications from 2006 to 2020 in nine technology areas. The survey was carried out by IP Analytics Karvonen and Turnip Innovations.