Switzerland still in the lead – despite fewer patent applications

17.03.2021 | Media release, Patents

The number of patent applications received by the European Patent Office (EPO) in 2020 from Switzerland has fallen by 1.9% to 8,112 according to the EPO’s newly published Patent Index 2020. The EPO reports that this is the first decline in Swiss patent applications since 2009 (-2.9%), the year after the start of the financial crisis.


Despite the declining trend, however, Switzerland was still the country with the highest number of patent applications per capita in 2020. With 966 applications per one million inhabitants in 2020 (following a record 988 applications in the previous year), this places Switzerland well ahead of other countries again. Sweden, in second place, submitted 434 applications per million inhabitants, and Denmark 410.


Fewer patents from the Canton of Zurich


In terms of European patent applications by canton, the number of applications from Vaud increased (+8.7%), while applications from Zurich fell significantly (-9.2%). In terms of percentage, the canton of Vaud is in the lead (14.1% of all applications), followed by Basel-Stadt (11.9%) and Zurich in third place (11.7%). Aargau follows in fourth place (11.3%) and Geneva in fifth place (9.6%). These five cantons are among the top 25 regions in Europe in terms of patent applications.


The decline was particularly marked in two important technology fields in Switzerland. The number of European patent applications filed in the field of metrology decreased by 14.4%, while patent applications for medical technology fell by 13.1%. On the other hand, the consumer goods sector grew by 16%.


Further information: Patent Index 2020