Switzerland and Japan both strong in patent activity

Switzerland and Japan both strong in patent activity

Tokyo (SCCIJ) – Switzerland led patent application filings in Europe during 2018, with Japan holding third place in global rankings. Switzerland, despite its small size, claimed eighth place worldwide. The leading European patent application filing company was Roche for the fourth year in a row, whereas industrial and robotics company ABB had the fastest growth. Globally, Mitsubishi Electric from Japan claimed second rank behind Huawei Technologies from China in the international category.

Indicator of innovation

Switzerland’s most important raw material is its innovative strength. As one indicator, the number of patent applications can be used. According to the European Patent Office report for 2018, applications from Switzerland rose by 7.8 percent to 7,927 in 2018, more than twice the EU average growth rate of 3.8 percent. Switzerland is the European country with the highest number of patent applications per million inhabitants – ahead of the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Finland.

Switzerland and Japan both strong in patent activity

European Patent Office in Munich

According to WIPO’s annual World Intellectual Property Indicators (WIPI) latest report, innovators across the globe filed 3.17 million patent applications in 2017, up 5.8 percent for an eighth straight annual increase. The U.S. ranked top, followed by China. Behind Japan, Germany and South Korea took 4th and 5th spot, and Switzerland at rank #8 was also in the top ten. But in terms of resident applications per million population, South Korea is in the lead, Japan ranks second and Switzerland is ranked third, ahead of the U.S., China and Germany.

Swiss focus on pharmaceuticals

Calculated in terms of patents per unit USD 100 billion GDP, three Asian countries filed the highest number of applications. South Korea took the top spot. China’s resident applications per unit of GDP increased from 1,594 in 2007 to 5,869 in 2017. In contrast, Japan’s ratio fell from 7,100 in 2007 to 5,264 in 2017, while that of Switzerland remained stable at around 1,774.

Among the top 10 origins in the period from 2014 to 2016, China and South Korea filed most heavily in electrical machinery and computer technology; Japan in electrical machinery; France and Germany in transport; Switzerland and the U.K. in pharmaceuticals; the Netherlands in medical technology; the Russian Federation in food chemistry; and the U.S. in computer technology.

European companies and inventors filed 4.6 percent more patent applications in 2018. 47 percent of those came from 38 European states. Asian companies also held their ground, with the combined share of China, Japan and South Korea rising moderately to 22.6 percent, up by 0.5 points. The US remained the top country of origin, accounting for 25 percent of total filings, followed by Germany, Japan, France and China. Japanese companies increased their filings in Europe by 3.9 percent.

Text: SCCIJ partly with material of EPO and WIPO; Photo: Pxhere CC0

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