Patent statistics

As of 31 December 2020, a total of 139,552 patents were in force in Switzerland. This can be divided into 6,782 national patents and 132,770 European patents. The first figure refers to inventions that have been filed for patent protection directly with the IPI. The considerably higher figure refers to patents filed with the European Patent Office (EPO), which are also in effect in Switzerland.



This represents an increase of 7,833 over the previous year.


Putting inventions under the microscope – most assisted patent search customers come from the cantons of Zurich, Bern and Vaud.



Patents held by Swiss companies in European comparison

In its Patent Index 2020, the European Patent Office (EPO) examined applications originating from Switzerland. The IPI presents the findings below.


Top 10 patent-filing countries (2020)

In the list of countries who submitted the most applications in 2020, Switzerland ranks seventh with 8,112 applications. The USA takes the top spot with 44,293 applications.


Source: European Patent Office



Top 5 countries – applications per million inhabitants (2020)

In 2020, Switzerland was once again the country with the most patent applications per million inhabitants. With 966 patent applications, the number shows a slight decline in 2020 (988 in the previous year). The EU average was 146 applications per million inhabitants.


Source: European Patent Office


Top 5 Swiss applicants (2020)

In the statistics on Swiss companies with the most applications with the EPO, ABB takes first place. Hoffmann-La Roche and Nestlé also made it onto the podium.


Source: European Patent Office


Trend in patent applications (2020)

The number of patent applications originating from Switzerland filed with the EPO has risen continuously since 2015. There was a slight decrease in the number of applications in 2020 (8,112 compared to 8,249 in 2019).


Source: European Patent Office


Assisted patent searches in 2020 – inventions under the microscope

The IPI offers patent searches. Together with a patent expert, the client can take an in-depth look at questions relating to patenting an innovation. Clients receive valuable search results which support them in making decisions concerning their idea or invention. This service is aimed at SMEs, individual inventors, research institutes and companies supported by research and innovation funding.


In 2020, the IPI carried out 1117 assisted patent searches. Most requests came from the canton of Zurich (283).


1. Zurich 283
2. Bern 158
3. Vaud 126
4. Aargau 86
5. Geneva 59


Source: The IPI



Patents in annual comparison

Anyone who wants to patent an invention in Switzerland must apply to the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI). In addition, patents granted by the European Patent Office (EPO) are also active in Switzerland.


  2020 2019 2018 2017

National applications


1 720

1 616

1 628

National patents granted





National patents in force


7 066

7 235

7 351

Patents granted by EPO(1)
with effect in Switzerland

132 770

124 635

 115 684

 109 407

Total number of patents in force
in Switzerland

139 552

131 719

122 800

116 758

(1) Patents in force: All patents, for which an annual fee had been paid in Switzerland as of 31.12.2020, were taken into account.

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