Rome - Italian ingenuity is becoming more and more eco-friendly: the number of "green" patents published in Europe by Italian inventors has increased over the past 10 years by 22 percent in total, amounting to 10 percent of the 3,645 patent applications filed in 2015. In other words, over 3,500 inventions related to low environmental impact innovations in implemented processes or products were filed from 2006 to 2015. According to a survey on the patents published by the European Patent Office (EPO) conducted by Unioncamere-Dintec, pharmaceutical and packaging are the areas in which Italian companies, organizations and individual inventors express the most innovative drive. These fields occupy the first places in the technological class ranking for Italian inventions in Europe.Also on the rise during the reference period were the household appliance and furniture sectors, up three places with respect to 2006 and pushing road vehicles off the podium. On the contrary, patents related to the Digital Economy and Communications field plummeted by 60 percent, slipping from the sixth place occupied in 2006 to the eighteenth in 2015.Despite major oscillations during the decade, the trend of patents related to Key Enabling Technologies (KETs), associated to applied research and experimental development, which require major investment and highly specialized personnel, remained constant and in the order of one thousand patents a year, explained Unioncamere in a note. KETs (which include biotech, photonics, advanced manufacturing, advanced materials, nano/micro-electronics and nanotechnology) represent about 29 percent of all Italian patents published by EPO in 2015.The "green" turn of Italian companies is even more interesting considering that the patenting capability of the country as a whole has dropped by 10 percent over the decade. This negative trend - despite the clear improvement seen in 2016 - however did not change the position of Italy in the European ranking, with the country in fourth position after Germany (which files five times more patents than Italy), France (double the number of patents) and the Netherlands.