Technological Innovations 2010

Introduction

Patent activity in different technological fields is now commonly used as a measure of innovation taking place in those fields. Increasingly the patent databases are becoming global and web-based allowing patent data to be integrated and bench-marked on time series, so that it is now possible to take an overview which of these areas are expanding or contracting.

Derwent World Patents Index (or DWPI), a constituent of Thomson Reuters is one such commercial database containing patent applications and grants from 44 of the world’s patent issuing authorities. By way of value added service, each patent included in this database is supplemented with a short summary by an expert in the field detailing the nature and use of the invention described in the patent. These are also then indexed into alphanumeric technology categories to allow retrieval of relevant patent documents by users.

Each record within the database corresponds to a patent family grouped around a unique invention for which a basic patent is usually filed by an applicant in his / her own country and subsequent applications in other countries will claim priority rights based on this original application and filing date. The worldwide applications and publications for an invention are collectively known as a patent family. DWPI is known to have some 20 million “inventions”, corresponding to tens of millions of patents, with almost a million new inventions added each year.

Key Technological Areas

Since 2009, DWPI began issuing ‘State of Innovation Report’ covering analysis of 12 key technology areas and their global innovation based on the volume of patent activity. ’2010 State of Innovation Report’ issued by DWPI is the second in the series with the same technology areas as before for comparison and benchmarking purposes. This article is essentially a brief review of this ’2010 State of Innovation Report’

An overall state of patent activity in the 12 key technology areas as presented in the report is shown in the following table:

Technology Area Volume 2010 Percent Total Rank 2010 Rank 2009
Computers & Peripherals 212622 28% 1 1
Automotive 88867 12% 2 4
Telecommuni- cations 87920 11% 4 2
Semiconductors 86479 11% 4 2
Pharmaceuticals 59350 8% 5 5
Medical Devices 52117 7% 6 6
Petroleum & Chemical Engineering 42304 6% 7 7
Domestic Appliances 36816 5% 8 9
Food, Tobbacco & Fermentation 36048 5% 9 8
Aerospace 32622 4% 10 10
Agrochemicals & Agriculture 22726 3% 11 11
Cosmetics 6438 1% 12 12

 

Noteworthy findings, according to this report, include the following.

    • Despite a 6% decline in total patenting volume from 2009, Computers & Peripherals maintained its lead as most innovative technology area
    • Notwithstanding the overall ranking, Aerospace patent activity increased by 25% from its 2009 level; this sudden spurt was due to 108% increase in Space Vehicle and Satellite Technologies, a sector within the Aerospace industry lead by Japanese manufacturer, Sharp and the Korean manufacturers LG and Samsung.
    • Semiconductor patent activity decreased by 9% from its 2009 level in 2010 overall, driven by double-digit decreases in three Semiconductor subsectors: Integrated Circuits; Discrete Devices; and Memories, Film and Hybrid Circuits.
    • Automotive sector maintained the patent activity volume as before but was moved up to the second position in 2010 due to marginal decline in other areas, viz., Telecommunications and Semiconductors industries.

Sectoral Highlights

Snapshots of some important sub-sectors with a list of top ten assignee companies / countries and their patent volumes are shown below.

Space Vehicle and Satellite Technologies

  • Sharp(JP) 166
  • LG(KR) 156
  • Samsung(KR) 119
  • Mitsubishi Electric(JP) 101
  • Sanyo (JP) 89
  • Kyocera (JP) 85
  • Applied Materials (US) 83
  • Dupont (US) 81
  • Toyota (JP) 73
  • Fujifilm (JP) 60

 

Agrochemicals

  • Bayer Cropscience (DE) 149
  • BASF (DE) 143
  • Sumitomo Chemical (JP) 109
  • Syngenta (CH) 68
  • Dow Agrosciences (US) 51
  • Univ. S. China Agr (CN) 51
  • Dupont (US) 24
  • Nippon Soda (JP) 24
  • Univ. Nanjing (CN) 33
  • Clariant(CH) 22

 

Pharmaceuticals (Organic)

  • Seiko Epson JP 385
  • Hoffman La Roche CH 233
  • Univ California US 189
  • Dokuritsu Gyosei Hojin Sangyo Gijutsu JP 183
  • Olympus Optical JP 178
  • Abbott Labs US 165
  • Nikon JP 142
  • Univ Seoul Nat Ind Found KR 139
  • CNRS FR 136
  • Univ Tokyo JP 127

 

Alternative Powered Vehicles

  • Toyota JP 2179
  • Nissan JP 639
  • Honda JP 467
  • Nippon Denso JP 340
  • Matsushita JP 287
  • Hyundai KR 284
  • GM US 243
  • Robert Bosch DE 217
  • Daimler DE 209
  • Aisin JP 166

 

Smart Media (Computers)

  • Samsung KR 274
  • Matsushita JP 156
  • Toshiba JP 139
  • NEC JP 127
  • Brother JP 111
  • Toppan Forms JP 109
  • Sony JP 91
  • Mitsui Chemical JP 85
  • Electronics & Telecom Res. Inst. KR 82
  • Dainippon Printing JP 76

 

Diagnosis / Surgery

  • Fujifilm JP 529
  • Olympus Optical JP 456
  • Toshiba JP 453
  • Toshiba Medical JP 396
  • Siemens DE 361
  • Konica Minolta JP 269
  • Philips NL 258
  • Tyco Healthcare Group US 243
  • GE Medical Systems Global Tech. US 197
  • Hitachi Medical JP 175

 

Chemical Engineering

  • Toyota JP 515
  • China Petro-Chem Corp CN 267
  • Univ Zhejiang CN 240
  • Matsushita JP 198
  • Univ Nanjing CN 163
  • BASF DE 152
  • NGK Insulators JP 133
  • Nippondenso JP 132
  • Dokuritsu Gyosei Hojin Sangyo Gijutsu JP 128
  • Robert Bosch DE 127

 

Semiconductor materials and processes

  • Samsung KR 1566
  • Hynix Semiconductor KR 1435
  • Toshiba JP 1429
  • Matsushita JP 977
  • NEC JP 925
  • Canon JP 822
  • Seiko Epson JP 717
  • Sony JP 673
  • Sharp JP 663
  • IBM US 591

 

Mobile Telephony

  • Samsung KR 1627
  • LG KR 1251
  • NEC JP 1146
  • Seiko Epson JP 1051
  • Matsushita JP 1035
  • Sony JP 930
  • Sharp JP 857
  • Kyocera JP 851
  • Qualcomm Inc US 824
  • ZTE Corp CN 776

 

Further Reading

2010 STATE OF INNOVATION – TWELVE KEY TECHNOLOGY AREAS AND THEIR STATE OF INNOVATION (Derwent World Patents Index)

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