March 16, 2021
ABB has again secured the first place among Swiss companies in the European Patent Office’s (EPO) list of patent applicants in 2020. ABB already topped the list of Swiss patent holders in 2019 and 2014.
The annual list of patent applications is published by the EPO in Munich, Germany, and highlights the companies and countries with the highest number of patents across the globe. In 2020, Switzerland remained the world’s innovation champion with 966 patent applications per 1 million inhabitants followed by Sweden which recorded 434 patent applications per 1 million people. With 8,112 patents, the overall number of applications registered in Switzerland was slightly lower than in 2019 while Sweden registered an increase to 4,423.
“I am extremely proud of this achievement, which shows we are continuously pushing the boundaries of technology to make things possible that were not possible before”, said Björn Rosengren, ABB CEO. “For more than 130 years innovation has been part of ABB’s DNA and we have a clear commitment to continue to lead with our technologies that support our customers in reaching new levels of performance and tackling key global challenges such as improving energy efficiency, reducing carbon emissions and preserving resources.”
As part of its innovation commitment, ABB invests significantly in research and development, and in 2020 the company has increased R&D and digital spend to 4.8 percent of Group revenues (2019: 4.7 percent), corresponding to around $1.3 billion. The company employs some 7,000 R&D engineers globally, of which more than 60 percent are focused on software development and digitalization.
In addition, the company continues to partner with more than 100 leading universities around the world. Among them ABB is working with Carnegie Mellon and Stanford University in the United States, University of British Columbia in Canada, Imperial College in the UK, the Indian Institute of Technology, China’s Tsing Hua University, Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology and ETH Zurich in Switzerland.
ABB is further leveraging its R&D ecosystem to enhance innovation efforts and gain speed with strategic digital partners like Microsoft, IBM and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) to name a few and by investing and collaborating with start-ups worldwide via its corporate venture arm ABB Technology Ventures and its start-up accelerator SynerLeap.