Monday, 16 May 2016

State of Innovation 2016: patents up, publications down

Amid a not inconsiderable blaze of publicity Thomson Reuters has launched its 2016 State of Innovation Study, using data from the Thomson Reuters Derwent World Patents Index and Web of Science. The accompanying media release, reproduced in part below, gives a flavour of its content:
"The pace of innovation among global corporations, universities, government agencies and research institutions has reached record levels. That’s the finding of the 2016 State of Innovation Report: Disruptive, Game-Changing Innovation study, released today by the Intellectual Property & Science business of Thomson Reuters ...

... [T]he annual study analyzes global intellectual property data, including worldwide patent application activity and scientific literature publications, as a leading indicator of innovation across 12 technology areas. This year’s study finds a double-digit year-over-year surge in innovation growth, led by significant increases in the Medical Devices, Home Appliances, Aerospace and Defense, Information Technology, and the Oil & Gas sectors.

The study also tracks global scientific literature publications as a window into the scientific and scholarly research that typically precedes discovery and the protection of innovation rights. Total scientific literature production, in contrast to overall patent volume, has posted a year-over-year decline, suggesting a potential slowdown in future innovation growth [or perhaps a greater awareness of the risks inherent in publishing potentially valuable and/or patent-relevant information?].

Key findings from the report include:

* Double-Digit Year-Over-Year Innovation Growth: Total, worldwide patent volume grew at an annualized rate of 13.7 percent in 2015, driving the overall growth rate for patents to over 100 percent since the State of Innovation study was launched in 2009. The total volume of new scientific research has declined 19 percent over the last year and 27 percent since 2009 [given that patent volume has risen while new research has declined, it would be good to look at the availability of research and innovation funds in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, as well as the criteria for deploying them].

* Medical Devices, Home Appliances, Aerospace & Defense Lead Growth: The industries showing the largest growth in year-over-year patent volume were Medical Devices (27 percent); Home Appliances (21 percent); Aerospace and Defense (15 percent); Oil & Gas (14 percent); and Information Technology (13 percent) [these fields are mirrored by Aistemos posts on prosthetics, white goods, drones and cybersecurity, all of which take a close look at the ongoing patent situation and the portfolios of principal players].

* Biotechnology is Only Sector to Slow: The only sector in the study to log a year-over-year decline in patent volume in 2015 was Biotechnology, which saw a -2 percent move [regulatory concerns and the greater attraction of investing in generic bioproducts may be taking a toll here].

* Open Innovation Models Thrive: The phenomenon of “open innovation” whereby corporations, universities, government agencies, and research institutions increasingly partner to bring new technologies to market, is evident in the increased comingling of multinational corporations and prolific scientific research institutions. These include, Procter & Gamble, listed alongside the University of Sao Paulo, the U.S. FDA, and Harvard University among top research institutions in the field of Cosmetics, and Ford, listed alongside the University of Michigan and Polytechnic University of Turin among top researchers in the Automotive sector [cooperation of this nature, as predicted in Henry Chesborough's Open Innovation over a decade ago, has been surprisingly slow to gain momentum, possibly on account of competition from alternative proprietary cooperative models such as FRAND-based technical standards. Open innovation need not however lead to the perils of joint ownership of IP rights, against which a contributor to this blog has warned, here]. ..."
If you want to access the report, you can apply to do so via Thomson Reuters here.

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