According to the European Patents Office (EPO), once again Switzerland topped the per capita patents ranking in 2016, with 892 applications per million inhabitants. Second and third places went to the Netherlands (405) and Sweden (360), followed by Denmark (334) and Finland (331). The first non-European country was Japan in ninth place (166), well above the EU average of 122.
The EPO published 96 000 granted patents in 2016, 40% more than in 2015, and the highest in the EPO’s history. Applications hit 159,000, up slightly on 2015.
In raw number terms, among EPO member countries, Switzerland came third (5%) after Germany (16%) and France (7%), but ahead of fourth-placed Netherlands (4%) and the UK (3%). The number of applications from Switzerland rose by 2.5% in 2016.
Swiss companies with the most patents were the pharma giant Hoffmann-La Roche (644), the engineering firm ABB (553), food giant Nestle (442), and the global pharma business Novartis (316).