Publications and Patents

Swiss scientific publications have a considerable impact internationally. Switzerland has also one of the highest rates per capita of patent applications.

View of the IGE building
© FDFA, Presence Switzerland


Swiss researchers produce roughly 1.2% of all scientific papers published worldwide, putting it in 17th place in international rankings. If we consider the actual number of papers produced in proportion to the country’s population, Switzerland comes top of the class, with an average of 3.9 publications per 1,000 inhabitants. 

Switzerland also performs exceptionally well in terms of its relative citation performance in international comparison. Swiss scientific publications are highly acclaimed internationally: in terms of impact, Switzerland exceeds the global average of 17% and takes third position after the United States and the Netherlands. 


In 2016, there were 892 patent applications per million inhabitants filed by Switzerland with the European Patent Office (EPO). The Netherlands came in second position with 405. Patents are governed by the Federal Act on Patents for Inventions and its accompanying ordinance. The Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property evaluates all patent applications with regard to their registration in both Switzerland and in over 30 other European countries. Patents are protected for a maximum of 20 years in Switzerland.

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