ABB, the global power and automation technology group, registered more patent applications with the European Patent Office (EPO) in 2013 than any other company based in Switzerland. Of the total 6,651 patent applications from Switzerland, 455 were made by ABB, followed by Nestle, Alstom and Roche.
Every year, ABB invests around $1.5 billion in research and development and is considered a technology innovation leader in its main fields of activity. Its 125-year heritage of innovation was further underlined in 2013 when Thomson Reuters and the MIT Technology Review recognized ABB as one of the world’s top innovators.
“ABB is world renowned as a technology innovator and for the quality of its products,” said ABB Chief Technology Officer, Claes Rytoft. “I am happy to see ABB at the top of the patent application list as it is a confirmation of our efforts to serve the market with innovative products and solutions.”
ABB conducts research and development in over 30 countries and employs more than 8,500 technologists around the world. It also maintains seven corporate research centers, one of which is based in Dättwil, near Zurich. ABB’s Global Research lab specializes in nine research areas including power electronics, software, sensors, materials and switching.
ABB’s technology achievements include the invention of self-blast circuit breaker technology, the first fiber-laser based pressure sensor, and the world's leading generator breaker. More recently ABB announced several innovation milestones including a combined low-voltage circuit breaker and energy manager, a new direct current fast charger for electric cars and a flash-charging technology for electric buses, and the development of a hybrid high-voltage direct current (HVDC) breaker.
Patent filings at the EPO grew by 2.8 percent last year and hit another all-time high, showing that Europe continues to be a key market for innovation. Switzerland had the most applications per one million inhabitants in Europe, ahead of Sweden and Finland.
With almost 7,000 employees, the EPO is one of the largest European public service institutions. Its headquarters are in Munich and it also has offices in Berlin, Brussels, The Hague and Vienna. The EPO was founded with the aim of strengthening co-operation between the European states in the field of patents. Through the EPO's centralized patent granting procedure, inventors are able to obtain patent protection in the 38 member states of the European Patent Organization on the basis of a single European patent application.
ABB (abb.com) is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 150,000 people.