Hive of innovation: Switzerland files the most patents per capita in the world

Hive of innovation: Switzerland files the most patents per capita in the world

Switzerland is the home to many large international companies and businesses, and as such, it is considered a hive of innovation. This has been confirmed by the European Patent Office in Munich, which received over 8.000 patent applications from Switzerland in 2021, the most inventions per capita in the world.

Switzerland filed the most patents per head of population

After a slight decline in applications in 2020, the patent office announced on Tuesday that it had recorded 3,9 percent more applications from Switzerland in 2021. Patents from Swiss companies and new businesses took the total up to 8.442 patents last year. 

When ranked by the number of patents per head of population, Switzerland takes the top spot and is far ahead of the rest of the world, with Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Finland rounding out the top five. Germany only registered a third of the number of patents per capita that Switzerland did.

Six Swiss cantons among the most innovative regions of Europe

The majority of the growth was driven by Canton Vaud and Zurich. Zurich saw its patent count rise by 8 percent in 2021, with Vaud, Basel-Stadt, Aargau, Geneva and Neuchâtel rounding out the top six. These cantons are among the top 30 leading regions in Europe for innovation.

Most of the new technologies coming out of Swiss labs were for healthcare, hospitals and doctors. This was followed by consumer goods, metrology, electronic devices and machines. Of the international companies applying for patents, the pharmaceutical giant Roche filed the most from Switzerland, followed by the major train manufacturer for Swiss public transport ABB, tobacco companies Japan Tobacco and Philip Morris, Nestlé and the Swatch Group.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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