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Switzerland tops invention table in Europe

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ETH Zurich is one of Switzerland's innovation hubs. Photo: Ed Seymour
12:22 CET+01:00
Confirming itself as a country of innovation and invention, Switzerland made more European patent applications per capita than any other nation in 2015.

According to the European Patents Office (EPO), Switzerland applied for 873 patents per million inhabitants in 2014, a 2.6 percent rise on 2015.

It was followed in second and third place by The Netherlands and Sweden, with the first non-European country being Japan in ninth place.

Switzerland was granted 3,037 patents, up 8.7 percent on the previous year and four percent of the record 68,400 total patents granted by the EPO in 2015.

The figures were published this week in the EPO's annual report, which also confirmed that the total number of European patent applications grew 4.8 percent to 160,000.

The growth is “an indicator of the growing demand for patent protection from businesses worldwide,” the EPO said in a statement.

Speaking to The Local, Silke Meyns, a patents specialist at leading Swiss technology institute ETZ Zurich,  said Switzerland's position in the rankings came as no surprise.

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“Switzerland has a very good industrial infrastructure, a lot of companies focusing on research, and we get very strong support from international corporations,” she said.

Among the companies making the most European patent applications in 2015 was Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis, with 116 applications.

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