Switzerland: Covid-19 Pandemic Leads to Innovation

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Switzerland is one of the foremost costly countries with a highly productive economy. So, Switzerland needs to maintain its position within the world through constant innovation and research. Many new commercially viable products and services are provided by the Swiss, even during the pandemic i.e., COVID-19. This pandemic shows that big companies must work towards innovation and innovate to survive whereas new businesses must start and grow to figure out problems that needed to be solved. These last 2 years are proof that businesses will survive if they adapt and innovate.  

Switzerland is forced to a consciousness of research and development due to its relative scarcity of natural resources and invested within the establishment of an excessive range of global-renowned universities, which successively appeal to multinationals looking for extraordinarily certified personnel.  

Switzerland encompasses a very vibrant medical technology area that leads many Swiss companies, research center, and institutions to come forward with many inventions and inventions that helps to fight and allow to be one step forward in the Covid-19 pandemic. Many big players like Roche and Novartis and even institutions like ETHZ and EPFL together with start-ups get media attention and become highlights for their work.  

During the pandemic, Swiss R&D Projects initiatives have become highlights which help during the COVID-19 crisis which is presented as an info graphic series known as “The Big Picture”. During this series, multiple projects related to artificial intelligence, Covid-19 test, Covid-19 treatment, new business strategy, ventilators, and protective equipment are innovated.  

Switzerland: Covid-19 Pandemic leads to Innovation

The whole world is affected by the Covid-19 effect and lots of sectors like innovation are affected by this pandemic. Even with the crisis, Switzerland’s economy is merely getting a minor hit and continues its innovation capability which is proven by “The 2021 Global Innovation Index” of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) which ranks Switzerland again as the world’s most innovative economy. Switzerland went ahead of Sweden and the USA, the UK, and South Korea and reach the top of this list now for the 11th time in a row.  

In 2020, the quality of the grants for the innovation projects remained constant and instead of going down, the development in the research increased more than ever. In spite of the pandemic, businesses, start-ups, and research institutions have taken the lead and kept innovating!  

To ensure that businesses and academic institutions may continue to work together on joint initiatives despite the crisis, Innosuisse which is a Swiss Innovation Agency has been very active. As a first step, the Swiss Innovation Agency for the Promotion of Innovative announced targeted and straightforward flexibility measures between April and the end of June 2020 to allow extensions and pay additional costs brought on by the Covid-19 epidemic in numerous current innovation initiatives. The federal loan guarantee system provides support to various start-ups to keep them running.  

Added to that, beginning in 2021, Innosuisse established two additional support programmes, namely the impulse programme “Swiss Innovation Power” and the Flagship initiative. These two programmes are designed to increase the Swiss economy’s long-term competitiveness. The impulse programme target to stimulate the introduction of specified science-based innovative projects by SMEs during the epidemic. The Flagship initiative focus to provide pushing for systemic innovations in the light of the economic and societal challenges, including the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

As many companies are recovering within the second year of the Covid-19 pandemic, in contrast, Switzerland companies have once more proven their innovative spirit. As compared to the previous year, there are more trademarks filed in 2021 i.e., within the last year 2021, 19,279 trademark applications are filed, and previously in 2020, it was 18,678 trademark applications. By the end of 2021, of total 534,960 trademarks are operative in Switzerland.  

Almost 97% of applications are filled and submitted via the online eTrademark platform which is one of the explanations for the rise in trademark application filling. According to the IPI examination, if the submitted trademark application stands to the legal requirements, then it is a part of the Swiss trademark register that protects the trademark. More than 1000 innovators perform searching with the IPI to examine inventions in an elaborative way. 

In 2021, the number of registered trademarks was 17,250 via the online eTrademark platform and in 2020, 16,322 trademark applications have been registered. More than 60% of applications will take advantage of early trademark filling which increases the possibility to induce their trademark registered quickly.  

Switzerland’s innovation spirit isn’t stopped with trademark registration only but is additionally reflected within the Patent search service which consumes almost 1,000 new ideas examined in 2021 and more than 1,000 ideas in 2020. SMEs, researchers, and solo inventors are performed searches to determine whether their invention is novel or not and if is there any utility or any monetized property of the invention to which they want to apply for a patent. The search provides an overview related to prior art or any previous documents present like the filed invention.  

As per the European Patent Office published its patent application statistics for 2021, there are 8,442 patent applications with Swiss origin were filed which is increased from last year by 3.9% from 8,125 patent application filed in 2020. As a case in point, with 968 patent applications per million population in 2020, Switzerland ranks third in the world, well above the EU average of 146 patents per million people.  

Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., ABB Ltd., and Japan Tobacco International are the top three Swiss-based filing companies, respectively, with 633, 522, and 495 patent applications filed each. 

The most popular technology sectors for Swiss patent applications in 2021 were “computer technology,” which saw a growth of 20.3 percent (225 total applications), and “medical technology,” which saw a growth of 18.5 percent (857 in 2021 compared to 723 in 2020). 

Further, in design patents, 811 designs were registered in 2021 in the IPI, and 613 designs were registered in 2020. By total evaluation till the end of 2021, 9,545 design rights were active providing protection to 33,686 objects. In 2020, these numbers were 9,212 design rights to protect 31,686 objects. The major applications received by the IPI is related to watches, clocks, instrument (measuring), packaging, and furniture. 

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