Reflections on patent trends 2012.
The Intellectual Property & Science business of Thomson Reuters, released its annual analysis of global patent trends today in its fourth-annual State of Innovation report which can be downloaded after a short registration. This publication tracks patent activity across 12 key technology areas. Going over the information provided is worth-while as it allows for some interesting observations:
- The largest increase in innovation activity is seen in medical devices, which had 15.7 percent growth over the prior period and a total volume of 60,300 inventions. It is safe to say that healthcare's importance is growing rapidly.
- Telecommunications shows a growth of 7.5 percent with a total of 94,516 inventions in 2012. Samsung, Ericsson and Qualcomm were volume leaders in Asian, European and American markets in mobile telephony. The volume leader qualification is significant: while volume is not necessarily representative for quality and actual market share today, it is an indicator of innovation ability and future market share expectations. For example, it is interesting to see that the re-bouncing Blackberry (formerly: Research in Motion), is a close second to Qualcomm in terms of mobile telephony inventions in the American market.
- Computers and peripherals recorded a 9.4 percent growth and an unbelievable total of 232,549 new inventions in year 2012. While this means exciting times ahead for gadget lovers, the total volume of new inventions indicates the need for a fundamental approach change towards Intellectual Property and licensing in general, if we are to handle the implementation of such innovation in an effective way and outside the courts.
The report snapshot provided is of course quantitative and thus conclusions need to be taken with the addition of appropriate common sense. For example, ground-breaking innovations are happening daily on the internet and many of the future technology giants might not be represented at all.
Having said this, correlating patent and innovation trends with public financial reports reveals what the business world considers as important enough to spend research money on. It is also shows indirectly where competition, if not already the case, will be the most fierce in the future.