Which companies lead the world in turning creative ideas into protected, commercialized inventions? The IP & Science business of Thomson Reuters, the world’s premier provider of intelligent information for businesses and professionals, answered that question today with the announcement of its fourth annual 2014 Top 100 Global Innovators list. The program honors the 100 most innovative organizations globally, as measured by a series of patent-related metrics.
Once again, the Thomson Reuters Top 100 Global Innovators demonstrate that investment in innovation leads to economic success. They outperformed the S&P 500 for the fourth consecutive year, achieving year-over-year market cap weighted revenue growth of 12.6 percent, roughly double the 6.85 percent annual revenue growth generated by S&P 500 companies. The 2014 Top 100 Global Innovators also generated the equivalent of US $3.69 trillion in revenue last year. And, they had an increase in R&D investment of more than double their NASDAQ counterparts; the Top 100 increased R&D spend by 16.9 percent, whereas NASDAQ’s R&D investment jumped by 8.18 percent and S&P 500 by only 3.97 percent.
“The term innovation has become such an overused buzzword that it’s easy to lose sight of what real innovation looks like. By focusing exclusively on quantitative analysis of global business’ intellectual property portfolios, we are able to identify not only what companies are inventing the most, but also how aggressively they are protecting those inventions,” said Basil Moftah, president, Thomson Reuters IP & Science. “This list of 100 companies represents the absolute vanguard of innovation – the organizations that are driving new breakthroughs, creating new jobs and igniting the global economy; we are honored to recognize their efforts.”
The Thomson Reuters 2014 Top 100 Global Innovators, in alphabetical order, are:
Advanced Micro Devices
Honda Motor Company
IFP Energies Nouvelles
Johnson & Johnson
Semiconductor Energy Laboratory
CNRS, The French National
Center for Scientific Research
Commissariat a l’Energie Atomique
Sumitomo Rubber Industries
Dow Chemical Company
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
NGK Spark Plug
Toyota Motor Corporation
Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal
Nissan Motor Company
Asia takes the lead among global innovators
Asia is home to the largest share of Top 100 innovators for the first time this year, with 46 companies on the list hailing from the region. Of these, 39 are based in Japan, 4 in South Korea, 2 from Taiwan and, for the first time, a Chinese company (Huawei) has made the list. North America follows with 36, down from 46 last year, with 35 companies domiciled in the US and 1 in Canada. Europe contributed 18 honorees, with the largest representation coming from France (7), Switzerland (5) and Germany (4). The United Kingdom is noticeably absent from the Top 100 list again this year, despite aggressive tax legislation in the country designed to spur new innovation.
R&D spending growth accelerates
The surge in R&D spending among Top 100 Global Innovators is also noteworthy. With the 100 organizations in the study spending U.S. $208 billion on R&D in 2013, the group outspent the constituents of S&P 500 at a rate of 4:1. On a year-over-year basis, Top 100 Global Innovators increased their total R&D spending by nearly 17 percent.
The Semiconductor and Electronic Components industry continued to lead all other industry sectors in 2014, with 21 representative companies, a 9 percent decrease from the previous year, but still a 50 percent increase since the Top 100 program’s inception, when there were just 14 semiconductor companies on the list. Computer hardware was the next most prolific industry, with 13 companies, up 18 percent over the previous year. The Industrial sector contributed 8 companies to the Top 100 list, displacing the Automotive sector, which contributed 6 companies this year, down from 8 last year.
Pharma continues to increase presence in top 100
The Top 100 methodology, by virtue of its criteria, favors fast-moving, hyper-competitive industries such as semiconductors/electronic components and computer hardware, where product lifecycles are short and advancements in technology are demanded by users. This has historically impacted the inclusion of pharmaceutical firms, which tend to have longer R&D cycles. Despite this, for the second year in a row, a growing number of pharmaceutical companies, including Abbott Laboratories, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis and Roche, have cemented their presence on the Top 100 list by virtue of their strong global patent portfolios.
Smartphone patent wars continue to drive new innovation
The intense competition in the smartphone space is on clear display in this year’s Top 100 Global Innovators list, with the major players in the smartphone patent wars present: Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, Google and BlackBerry. Since its initial appearance last year, BlackBerry has made further strides to bring its business back to full strength with the formation of a separate business unit to handle its patent portfolio and the recent release of the BlackBerry Passport smartphone.
The Thomson Reuters 2014 Top 100 Global Innovator methodology is based on four principle criteria: overall patent volume, patent grant success rate, global reach of the portfolio and patent influence as evidenced by citations. The peer-reviewed methodology was executed using Thomson Reuters Derwent World Patents Index® (DWPI), Derwent Patents Citations Index™, Quadrilateral Patent Index™, and Thomson Innovation®, its IP and intelligence and collaboration platform. Comparative financial analysis was done using the Thomson Reuters Eikon platform.
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Source: Thomson Reuters