Thomson Reuters Analysis of 2008 World Patent Activity: Non-U.S. Companies Dominate in U.S.; Home Region Innovators Dominate in Asia and Europe

by Brian Fletcher on March 29, 2009

The IP Solutions business of Thomson Reuters released the results of its 2008 Global Innovation Study on March 25, analyzing the leading innovators by key region over the last year.  The study, which tracked the top ten innovators in China, Europe, Japan, Korea and the U.S. on the basis of total number of unique inventions issued in granted patents and published patent applications, found that 70 percent of the top ten innovators in the U.S. were non-U.S. companies.  In contrast, home region innovators dominate the Asian and European top ten lists.

A total of 967,562 granted patents and published patent applications representing unique inventions were received across the study sample of China, Europe, Japan, Korea and the U.S. over the course of calendar year 2008.  Of those, 207,364 were received in the U.S.; 251,071 were received in Japan; 125,974 were received in Europe; 70,532 were received in Korea; and 312,621 were received in China.

Among the top innovators in the U.S. were — in order — Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea); International Business Machines Corp. (U.S.); Microsoft (U.S.); Toshiba (Japan); Canon (Japan); Fujitsu Ltd. (Japan); Sony Corp. (Japan); General Electric Co. (U.S.); Seiko Epson Corp. (Japan); and Hon Hai Precision Ind. Co. Ltd. (Taiwan).  Among the Asian firms who have developed a large innovation footprint in the U.S., Samsung, Toshiba, Canon, Sony Corp. and Seiko Epson also rank among the top ten innovators in their home regions.  The American companies among the U.S. top ten do not rank in the top ten of any other regions in this study.

In Europe, just one of the top ten innovators was from outside Europe:  Samsung Electronics Co. LTD (Korea), which was the third most innovative company there last year.  The remaining nine of the top ten are all European businesses.  No European companies were in the top ten in the U.S. or Asia.

All the Asian regions studied show that Asian companies see the importance of their native markets in terms of innovation reinvestment.  The top ten innovators in Japan, China and Korea are Japanese, Chinese and Korean organizations, respectively.

The data in this report was compiled using the Thomson Reuters Derwent World Patents Index (DWPI) database.  It aggregates granted patents and published applications (examined and unexamined) within each region in determining the top innovators.

To view the top innovators globally and the results of the study, click here.

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