When most of us think of the Swiss, we tend to think of chocolate, watches, and skiing. We should add inventors to that list. In a European Patent Office press release from yesterday, the EPO listed figures on European patent filing in 2012, including a list of the top 50 countries filing European patent applications.
Not surprisingly, The United States tops the list, with Japan and Germany coming in second and third, respectively. China and South Korea round out the top 5. This is exactly the same as in 2011. But as an Intellectual Asset Management blog points out, it’s even more interesting to look at the per capita top filers–the number of patents per person. By that measure, little Switzerland is a global leader in patent filing, topping the list with one application for every 953 residents. This is almost twice as much as Finland, the runner-up, and much higher than the United States, which comes in 12 in this ranking with one patent per 4,861 residents.
So even though the world-famous Cuckoo Clock wasn’t invented in Switzerland (it was actually invented in Germany), Switzerland is one of the most innovative countries in the world. But of course most us will continue appreciating the Swiss most of all for the delicious truffles, pralines, and good old-fashioned chocolate bars they produce for the sweet-toothed around the world.