The EPO, based in Munich, received a total of 188,600 patent applications in 2021, an increase of 4.5% year-on-year, setting a new record. For Switzerland, it registered 8442 patent applications, an increase of 3.9%.
The country with the highest number of applications continues to be the United States (46,553 applications), while China has seen a "considerable" increase in applications, which rose by 24% last year (16,665 applications). Per million inhabitants, however, Switzerland remains far ahead, followed by Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Finland.
Vaud ahead of Zurich
By canton, Zurich (+8%) is the most active in Switzerland. The canton of Vaud, which has filed a constant number of patent applications, lost ground, but remains ahead. Behind this duo, Basel-Stadt dropped to third place, followed by Aargau, Geneva and Neuchâtel. These six cantons are among the top 30 regions in Europe in terms of patent applications.
At the European level, the digital communication and information technology sector filed the largest number of applications (15,400, +9.4%), followed by medical technology (15,231, +8.8%) and computer technology (14,671 applications, +9.7%).
At the Swiss level, the medical technology sector filed the most patent applications. This was followed by consumer goods, metrology, electronic devices and machines, pharmaceuticals, chemistry and biotechnology.
Among Swiss companies, the Basel-based pharmaceutical group Roche overtook the electrical engineering group ABB in first place. The two tobacco companies Japan Tobacco and Philip Morris were followed by Nestlé and Swatch Group.