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unlocking innovation Swiss dominate European patent filings

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Switzerland filed 956 requests for patents per million people compared to 884 the previous year.

(Keystone)

Switzerland takes the top spot in total patent filings per capita to the European Patent Office (EPO). Among Swiss companies, pharmaceutical company Roche leads the number of patent filings for the fourth year in a row while industrial and robotics company ABB recorded the fastest growth.

The EPO received 7,927 applications from the Alpine nation in 2018 - a 7.8% increase from 2017 and the highest level recorded since 2010 according to the agency’s annual report.

This represents 956 requests for patents per million people compared to 884 for the previous year. This was followed by the Netherlands with 416 applications per million inhabitants and Denmark with 411.

+ See how Switzerland ranked in 2017

In terms of total applications, the United States is the most active with 25% of the total of 174,317 applications followed by Germany (15%) and Japan (13%). Switzerland and China both ranked 5th with 5% of total applications. While China’s patent filings increased by 8.8%, this was the country’s slowest growth in the last five years.

The measurement systems sector accounts for the largest share of patent applications with 10%, followed by medical technologies (9%).

Swiss scene

As for Swiss companies, Roche is the reigning champion for the fourth year in a row with a 1.2% increase to 651 patent filings in 2018. However, robotics and automation specialist ABB recorded a much higher increase in the number of patents (12.4%) with 571. Nestlé came in third among Swiss companies but filed 15.3% less patents than 2017.

Globally, Siemens led corporate filings with nearly 2,500 patents with Huawei coming in a close second. Roche came in 24th globally.

Among universities, the Federal Institutes of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ) and Lausanne (EPFL) took 13th and 14th place respectively.


Keystone-SDA/jdp

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