The European Patent Office (EPO) recently released its 2021 patent application statistics. With a total of 188’600 filings made in Europe in 2021, this represents a 4.5% growth overall in total patent applications versus 2020. Computer technology applications led the way with a grow of +9.7% year over year. Here we look at the breakdown by industry sector, country and company.
The leading sectors for new patent applications were as follows:
|# New Patents||Growth YOY|
The top patent sectors registered were communication and technology companies. And the top company applicant rankings for European Patents in 2021 were:
- Huawei with 3’544 patent applications for a + 13.8% growth YOY
- Samsung with3’439 patent applications for a + 5.0% growth YOY
- LG with 2’422 patent applications which was down -16.7% vs 2020
- Ericson with 1’844 patent applications for a growth of +15.3% YOY
- Siemens with 1’720 patent applications for a growth of +5.8% YOY
Switzerland was ranked seventh overall behind the United States which registered 46,533 patent applications, Germany with 25,969 applications, Japan at 21,681 applications, China with 16,865 applications, France at 10,537 applications and finally South Korea with 9,394 patent applications.
However, Switzerland was ranked first in terms of applications per capita with 969 applications per million residents. This is nearly double that per capita of Sweden which ranked second in this category at 488 million. In this ranking, the number for the US was 140 applications per million inhabitants.
With a growth of +9.4% versus 2020, Digital Communication was ranked top in terms of the most number of patent applications filed. Medical Technology was second with a slower growth of 0.8% versus 2020. The high increase in digital technology applications confirms the need for smart urban mobility. Also still strong, but behind the pure tech sectors were Pharmaceuticals at +6.9% and Biotechnology at +6.6% YOY. This activity owed much to the high levels of innovation in vaccines.
Medical Technology in Switzerland made up the largest part of patent applications in 2021. This was followed by consumer goods, metrology, electric machines, pharmaceuticals , chemicals and biotechnology. The winning companies in patent application from Switzerland were:
- Japan Tobacco
- Philip Morris
In terms of leading cantons. Vaud in the French part of Switzerland submitted the most applications, Second was Zurich and Basel-City. These were followed by the cantons of Aargau, Geneva and Neuchâtel. Each of these six cantons also made the top 30 most innovative regions in Europe.
As a land locked country, with virtually no natural resources, Switzerland has again proven that it is a global leader in innovation – and this across various industry sectors. Switzerland has long had to focus on innovation to generate income and wealth. And two of the leading sectors in Switzerland, continue to be chemical and pharmaceutical products which make up more than half of the value of Swiss exports.
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