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Innovation & Sustainability

Switzerland: a hotspot for innovation and patents

Switzerland has once again asserted itself as a major player in the field of innovation and intellectual property. The year 2023 marked a record in terms of patent applications to the European Patent Office. 


In 2023, 9,410 applications from Switzerland were filed with the European Patent Office - a record year (Patent Index 2023). This corresponds to an increase of 2.7 per cent compared to the previous year. A total of 199,275 patent applications were recorded worldwide, an increase of 2.9 per cent compared to the previous year, with Switzerland ranking seventh worldwide and third in Europe. It is worth noting that Switzerland is number one in terms of the number of patent applications per capita.

Chemistry, pharma and life sciences lead the way in patent applications
Switzerland's contribution in the fields of pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and chemistry (all chemical sectors), which together account for almost 30 per cent of all patent applications in 2023, is particularly noteworthy (Country Profile Switzerland). Among these sectors, the pharmaceutical company Roche leads the list of Switzerland's top performers with 754 applications.

Switzerland has already been ranked first in the WIPO 2023 Global Innovation Index for the 13th time in a row, thanks in part to the "Innovation Top-Performers" and scienceindustries members such as Hoffmann-LaRoche, Nestlé, Novartis and Syngenta. Switzerland should not only remain an important player in the field of innovation, but also a pioneer in the protection and promotion of intellectual property, which is crucial for the long-term success of its knowledge-based industries.

High investment in research and development requires protection of intellectual property
The Swiss chemical, pharmaceutical and life sciences industries account for around 40 per cent of private research and development expenditure (CHF 6.7 billion in 2021). More than a third of this investment is channelled into biotechnology. These substantial investments are only economically justified in an environment that ensures non-discriminatory market access worldwide and strong and enforceable protection of intellectual property.  

This emphasises the need for robust intellectual property protection at both national and international level, which is a high priority for scienceindustries members. In order to ensure an international level playing field, Switzerland has a pioneering role to play in IP protection - this is in its own interest, especially as the key industries depend on it.


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