Bern - The pandemic has evidently not curbed the famous Swiss inventive spirit. On the contrary, the number of patent applications submitted to the European Patent Office from Switzerland reached a new record level in 2021. Medical technology is the main driver of this development.

Switzerland remains the country with the highest concentration of new inventions. This is a finding of the Patent Index 2021, which was published by the European Patent Office on April 5. As the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property has now announced, the number of European patent applications submitted from Switzerland rose by +3.9 percent year on year to 8,442. This is the second-highest growth rate seen in the past decade and a new record has now been set.

With 633 applications, Roche has reclaimed top spot in the Swiss rankings. In so doing, the pharma giant has pushed the energy and automation group ABB (522 applications), which had topped the rankings in each of the previous two years, down into second place.  

For the first time in a decade, medical technology was the area from which the most patent applications were submitted, after growth of +18.5 percent was recorded here. In the previous year, this technological field had actually recorded a severe decline of -13.1 percent. Patent applications from the consumer sector rose by +3.1 percent to claim second place. At +6.7 percent, measurement technology patent applications were ranked in third place (-14.4 percent in the previous year). Between 2012 and 2019, this industry had continually topped the rankings.

Switzerland posts record number of patent applications

A total of six Swiss cantons were among the 30 leading European regions. By way of comparison, France had just two regions among the top 30, and Germany seven. In the canton of Zurich, European patent applications rose by +8.0 percent, while no change was observed in the canton of Vaud, which at 13.5 percent remains at the top of the cantonal rankings. Zurich has now moved into second place, at 12.2 percent, ahead of Basel-Stadt in third place with 12.0 percent. The canton of Aargau (10.9 percent) comes next, followed by Geneva (9.0 percent) and the canton of Neuchâtel (8.2 percent).

Swiss MedTech ecosystem bolstered by strong partners

In the dense network of the Swiss MedTech ecosystem, start-ups with innovative ideas are dependent on the support of more established enterprises. In order to develop products to the stage of market maturity, organizations based in Greater Zurich run various funding programs. These are to the benefit of the industry as a whole.

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