Swiss lead on patent applications in Europe

The Swiss are prominent inventors of things like this "Riri" zipper, the first made on a series-production basis. Keystone

Switzerland remains a comparative front-runner of European ingenuity, according to the European Patent Office.

As a measure of what it calls “the inventiveness of Europe’s leading economies”, the patent office reported on Thursday that the Swiss have the highest ratio of European patent applications to population.

In 2015, Switzerland had 873 applications per million inhabitants, followed by the Netherlands with 419 per million and Sweden with 392 per million.

By comparison, Japan had 169 per million; the United States had 133 per million; and China had 4 per million.

47% Swiss applications granted

In all, there were 7,088 patent requests from among Switzerland’s 8.3 million inhabitants. The number of requests rose 2.6% over 2014.

The patent office said the total number of applications it received rose to 160,022, up 4.8%, and the highest ever number.

Almost half came from its member countries, followed by the US (42,692), Germany (24,820), Japan (21,426), France (10,781) the Netherlands (7,100) and Switzerland.

The number of Swiss patent applications that were granted rose to 3,307, up 8.7% from a year earlier.

The patent office said it granted approximately 68,400 patents in 2015, up almost 6% on the year, and the highest ever number.

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