|Top again ...|
Much has been made of the fact that fewer patents were granted in 2015 than had been secured the year before; notwithstanding this, IBM kept a firm grip on bragging rights, retaining top spot in the granted patents chart for the 23rd year in a row. Indeed Big Blue received around 50% more grants than second-place Samsung. Techno-heavyweights Canon, Qualcomm, Google, Toshiba and Sony all scored well. Apple didn't even make the Top Ten, crawling in 11th -- and there were no pharma innovators in the list at all. Isn't this all hugely significant? The answer is: by itself, no.
Tangible IP @TangibleIP_ @aistemos @ingridlunden @TechCrunch Patent Quantity Is VANITY. Patent Impact is SANITY.The reality is that annual patent grant and application statistics are not great indicators of anything, except perhaps how busy the United States Patent and Trademark Office was in the course of the year and what sort of fee revenue it might be earning.
In many if not most sectors in which innovation is capable of generating patentable inventions, the patent grant statistics are likely to indicate the nature and extent of research and product or process development that took some time earlier, often several years. Many patents granted in 2015 will therefore be able to trace their origins to the period between 2008 and 2012, when the industrialised world was struggling to cope with a major international economic recession and investment funding was tighter than it is today.
|Sahara: plenty of it,|
but how much is it worth?
In any event, even if a single year's data regarding patent applications and grants could be said to carry any major significance, that would only be in relation to a wider picture. The 2015 data is just a snapshot, which is devoid of value if it is not framed within the continuum of data relating to other years, the maturity or novelty of the technologies in which patents are sought and granted, the extent to which patents are used in conjunction with other registered and unregistered rights, regulatory data and transactional information concerning open and closed licensing practices. So the bottom line is this: don't allow yourself to be carried away by the headlines.