Switzerland takes gold in EPO patent ranking for 2023

Switzerland takes gold in EPO patent ranking for 2023

The latest data from the European Patent Office (EPO) has revealed that international companies and domestic businesses in Switzerland are still at the forefront of innovation. Per capita, the alpine nation submitted the highest number of patents in the world last year, with most being related to healthcare and consumer goods.

Switzerland files most patents per capita in 2023

According to the report, Switzerland filed 1.085 patents per one million people last year - the most in the world and a 5,2 percent increase compared to 2022. The figure is also more than double the number submitted by Sweden in second place (495). Rounding out the top six for 2023 were Denmark (445), Finland (422), the Netherlands (402) and Germany (300).

However, in terms of absolute numbers, the United States placed top with 48.155 patents. They were followed by Germany with 24.966 and Japan with 21.520. The EPO noted that 199.275 patent applications were submitted worldwide in 2023, with 57 percent coming from outside Europe.

Healthcare and consumer innovations most common in Switzerland

Of the 9.410 patents filed in Switzerland last year, innovations in hospitals and medical care were the most common at 1.010 applications. In absolute terms, this puts Switzerland second in Europe (behind Germany) for new discoveries in healthcare.

Consumer goods were the second most common patents filed in Switzerland last year at 965, with applications increasing by 11,9 percent compared to 2022. In terms of the fast-growing sectors, the number of Swiss inventions and discoveries in the automotive industry rose by 27,2 percent compared to 2022. A higher number of breakthroughs in chemistry (17,2 percent) and in electrical machines, devices and energy (14,4 percent) were also recorded last year.

Swiss companies benefit from stable economy

The findings back up previous reporting, which found that the Swiss economy continues to develop well despite ongoing crises abroad, making it a safe haven for innovation. There is also evidence to suggest that the country is becoming a safer bet for entrepreneurs too, with the head of German chainsaw manufacturer Stihl admitting at the end of February that it is now cheaper to run a business in Switzerland than it is in Germany.

For individual companies, it was one of the giants of Basel that filed the most patents in Switzerland last year, with Hoffmann-La Roche placing first - the pharmaceutical firm filed 754 patents in 2023. They were followed by Japan Tobacco International, Philip Morris, ABB and Nestlé.

Countries with the most patents per capita in 2023

In all, here are the countries that filed the most patents in 2023 (per 1 million inhabitants):

  1. Switzerland (1.085)
  2. Sweden (495)
  3. Denmark (445)
  4. Finland (422)
  5. The Netherlands (402)
  6. Germany (300)
  7. Austria (264)
  8. South Korea (243)
  9. Belgium (220)
  10. Ireland (211)

For more information, check out the official EPO report.

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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