Roche filed a total of 664 patent applications with the European Patent Office (EPO) in 2016. With 316 applications, Novartis came in fourth place among Swiss companies, just after ABB and Nestlé, according to official figures from the EPO. The specialty chemicals company Clariant from Muttenz in the canton of Basel-Landschaft came in 12th in the Swiss country list with 91 applications.
Switzerland was able to position itself at the top with respect to the number of patents filed relative to its population. It came in first place with 892 applicants per million inhabitants, as it did in 2015. According to the EPO, the Netherlands came in second place with only 405 applications per million inhabitants.
Most of the patents came from technical fields, with the highest number filed in medical technology. The pharmaceutical sector came in ninth place, just ahead of biotechnology.
In terms of total numbers, the US was the country with the most patent applications. Switzerland came in fifth place, after Germany, Japan and France.