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Thomson Reuters Names 2014 Top 100 Global Innovators

November 6th, 2014

Lots of CEOs talk about innovation, but which companies are putting their money where their mouths are when it comes to driving real innovation? Today, the IP & Science business of Thomson Reuters answered that question with the release of its fourth annual Top 100 Global Innovators list.

The annual study, which is the only purely quantitative ranking of innovation of its kind, recognizes the 100 most innovative organizations globally based on a series of financial and patent-related metrics.

Beyond the list itself, which includes some names you’d expect (Apple, IBM, Google, IBM, Samsung) and some surprises (Blackberry, Huawei, NGK Spark Plug), the Top 100 Innovators report also contains a detailed analysis of company financials, the influence of governmental policies and industry trends.

Following are some of the key findings:

Japan Takes the Lead Among Global Innovators; U.S. Declines 27% Year-Over-Year: Asia is home to the largest share of Top 100 innovators for the first time this year, with 46 of the 100 companies hailing from that 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.

Top Innovators Doubled Annual Revenue Growth Rate of S&P 500: Thomson Reuters Top 100 Global Innovators 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 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.

R&D Spending Growth Accelerates: The 100 organizations in the study spent a combined U.S. $208 trillion 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.

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.

Semiconductor Firms Still Leading the Chase: 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% 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: 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. This comes despite the Top 100 methodology favoring fast-moving, hyper-competitive industries such as semiconductors/electronic components and computer hardware, as opposed to pharma, which tends to have longer R&D cycles.

For more information and to download the full report, visit top100innovators.com

To view the full Top 100 Innovators graphic, see blow, or click here.

100 info

Laura Gaze, Senior Marketing Manager, IP Solutions Innovation, Patents , , ,

Nobel Physics Prize Highlights Link Between Scientific Research and Real-World Business Development

October 7th, 2014

Shuji Nakamura is one of the recipients of this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics.  Not only is this exciting news for the Thomson Reuters Citation Laureate program, which predicted Nakamura’s win back in 2002, the selection also offers a clear road map from developing highly cited scientific research to spurning an explosion of business growth.

Patent research using Thomson Reuter’s Derwent World Patent Index reveals that Nakamura is named as the inventor on 484 patented inventions in the field of Electro-(in)organic materials published since 1991.  The most highly-cited of these inventions is US6153010A, which was published in 2000. This invention created a “method of growing nitride semiconductors, nitride semiconductor substrate and nitride semiconductor device” and has been cited by 427 subsequent published patents.

This analysis of both patents and scientific literature citations shows us that the extensive field work done by Nakamura has been the impetus for hundreds of inventions that have helped the semiconductor industry to an unparalleled growth and innovation over the past decade and a half. Nakamura’s case connects the dots between the research and business work, and as a result, portrays a lasting impact on both sides of the coin.

Laura Gaze, Senior Marketing Manager, IP Solutions Patents , , , , ,

The Next Space Race: Reusable Rockets

September 4th, 2014

Man has already reached the new frontier, but can it now be done on a budget? The lynchpin to making space travel efficient is the ability to produce reusable rockets.

As a result, the race is on to build the new technology that would “chop tens of millions of dollars off the cost of launch,” and it has two major players. Elon Musk’s SpaceX is the leader in building this type of technology, getting as far as the testing phases, however they’re being held up in their pursuit, according to Quartz.

“[…]Someone else has the patent on this kind of technology: Blue Origin, the space exploration company founded by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. While the company hasn’t developed its technology as far as SpaceX, which already is launching satellites for commercial and government clients, it has been proceeding with a contract from NASA to develop a rocket-and-spacecraft combination. But before it launched a single rocket, it obtained a business method patent for a reusable launch vehicle […]”

Laura GazeLaura Gaze, Director, IP Solutions: It’s easy to understand Elon Musk’s frustration, but Bezos and his Blue Origin company were wise to file a patent on the technology. Their contract with NASA has given the Amazon chief and his company fantastic positioning, and it’s because they were first to file. Even though SpaceX is closer, Blue Origin’s protection may put them in the driver’s seat in this race to space.

Laura Gaze, Senior Marketing Manager, IP Solutions Patents , , , , ,

Facebook Buys 100 Patents To Spur Virtual Reality, Video, Speech

September 2nd, 2014

Facebook has evolved by leaps and bounds over its ten years of existence.  From humble beginnings of late-night coding binges, the college student addiction of choice has become a mainstay on every laptop, smartphone, and tablet in the world.

So what’s next? According to Forbes, the sky is the limit:

A recent analysis found that new possibilities for Facebook could range from ‘digital printing services to interactive wearable devices.’”

Laura GazeLaura Gaze, Director, IP Solutions: Peaking into a company’s patent portfolio is always a valuable tool when predicting their future. We know that Facebook has lofty goals, and it seems as though they’re ready to diversify in order to stay relevant. It’s just another great example of a company using innovation to cement their place at the top. It will be interesting to see which of these patents materialize and which direction Facebook chooses to move towards.

Laura Gaze, Senior Marketing Manager, IP Solutions Patents , , , ,

The Most Magical Drones on Earth? Disney Files Patents for Theme Park Drones

August 28th, 2014

Theme park innovation, anti-terrorism measure, or all of the above? That’s the question on the mind of Disney enthusiasts upon hearing of the news that drones could soon be flying above the Magic Kingdom.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Disney has filed three patents for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for entertainment purposes. The report says that Disney’s “Imagineers” have dreamed up new ways to bring The Disney Company’s properties to life with these aircraft usually reserved for military purposes.

“One of the applications is for a multi-drone system that would hold aloft a projection screen for a nighttime display. Such a display would utilize what Disney calls ‘flixels,’ which is an Imagineer word creation for ‘floating pixels,’ according to the background information Disney submitted.

In the second patent application, Disney said ‘the UAVs execute the flight plans to move and to position the flexible projection screens within the display air space,’ according to the patent application abstract. ‘These multiple flexible projection screens, Disney says, would have little wind resistance and offer a surface for reflecting light.’

Laura GazeLaura Gaze, Director, IP Solutions: This is an interesting development in the House of the Mouse. Earlier this year, Walt Disney World rolled out a program called MyMagic+ that takes advantage of RFID technology for everything from their Fast Pass system to room keys to credit card purchases. Now, the use of drones sounds like it will initially be focused on in-park product, but one cannot wonder what other applications they could eventually have, from security monitoring to data collection on guests utilizing the RFID technology. There are endless possibilities to Disney’s use of these UAVs, and it will be interesting to see what manifests out of the pixie dust.

Laura Gaze, Senior Marketing Manager, IP Solutions Patents , , , ,

Confirmed: Patent Trolls Inhibit Innovation

August 27th, 2014

Non-practicing entities (NPEs), or “patent trolls,” have always been accused of stifling innovation, but a no one has been able to put a monetary amount on this claim. Until now.

According to Vox: “A new study by researchers at Harvard and the University of Texas provides some insight on this question. Drawing from data on litigation, R&D spending, and patent citations, the researchers find that firms that are forced to pay NPEs (either because they lost a lawsuit or settled out of court) dramatically reduce R&D spending: losing firms spent $211 million less on R&D, on average, than firms that won a lawsuit against a troll.”

Laura GazeLaura Gaze, Director, IP Solutions: This study comes on the heels of a big settlement between Adam Carolla and a non-practicing entity, a case that nearly turned the entire broadcasting industry on its head. Now, with some concrete stats behind the claim that NPEs have an adverse impact on R&D and innovation, those leading the fight for U.S. patent reform have more ammunition to make their case against NPEs.  This is an issue we’ve seen debated for years.  As far back as 2010, we hosted a panel session entitled “Non-Practicing Entities: Patent Pirates or Stewards of Innovation,” in which a group of NPEs debated their role in the patent landscape with a group of major manufacturers.  The conversation then was very similar to the conversation we’re hearing today: some NPEs are perfectly legitimate operations that operate similar to private equity firms or venture capitalists using patents as collateral to harness the growth of new technologies.  Others are more predatory in their practices.  As this debate continues to generate global media attention, we expect to see more proposed legislation and no shortage of hand-wringing over individual cases.

Laura Gaze, Senior Marketing Manager, IP Solutions Patents , , , ,

Can the Patent Box Make or Break Pfizer’s AstraZeneca Takeover?

May 1st, 2014

The British government’s incentive program designed to convince companies to locate research-and-development teams in the U.K. may be at the center of Pfizer’s planned takeover of AstraZeneca.

“The United Kingdom has created attractive incentives for companies to manufacture products and maintain and protect intellectual property, and we have seen that capital and jobs have followed these types of incentives,” Pfizer CEO Ian Read said in a Monday-morning statement designed to woo Astra shareholders (via the WSJ).

According to the Journal:

“When the patent box has been fully phased in by 2017, it will mean qualifying companies pay 10% tax on their profits derived from U.K.-held patents, compared with the current rate of 21% (the rate will fall to 20% in April 2015) […] A combined Pfizer and AstraZeneca would be incorporated in the U.K. (but listed in New York), Mr. Read said Monday, and would therefore be better placed to take advantage of the patent-box tax break on any new drugs developed in the U.K.”

Laura GazeLaura Gaze, Director, Thomson Reuters: The incentives under this new tax regime, which companies have been navigating through for the better part of two years, seem as though they are doing exactly as they were intended. But will this new structure derail Pfizer’s plan? This is an extremely complicated deal with many moving parts, so we may not have answers to these questions for a while, but it’s clear the patent box is set to be a very significant item that may decide many corporate agendas in the years to come.

Laura Gaze, Senior Marketing Manager, IP Solutions Innovation, Patents , , , , ,

Apple-Samsung Battle Comes to the Final Stand

April 29th, 2014

Tuesday is set to be the day of reckoning in the smartphone patent wars.  That’s because Apple and Samsung’s $2 billion patent dispute is set to reach its conclusion, with closing arguments slated to wrap up the latest infringement case between the two powerhouses.

Each side will get two hours to in a San Jose courtroom, where an Apple victory would allow the iPhone maker to seek a court order barring U.S. sales of earlier models of Samsung phones equipped with Android features. Two years ago, Apple was awarded a $930 million decision over Samsung.  Despite the monetary sum, Apple failed to win an order barring sales of infringing Samsung phones.

Laura GazeLaura Gaze, Director, Thomson Reuters: The first time a decision was handed down between these two companies, it reverberated throughout the entire industry. Now, with Apple possibly being able to bar the sales of infringing phones, the entire market could stand to change. A decision for Apple would significantly shake up the landscape in this space, and it would set a precedent that could open Samsung up to even more vulnerability down the road. Stay tuned to the IP Solutions blog, where we’ll have more as the decision comes down.

Laura Gaze, Senior Marketing Manager, IP Solutions Patents , , , ,

Does New Apple Patent Hint at a Next-Gen Siri?

March 19th, 2014

According to multiple reports, Apple’s Siri feature – the automated iPhone personal assistant – may be in for an overhaul.

CNET says that a patent filed at the US Patent and Trademark Office could hint at a new Siri feature that would include sensors:

“The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on Tuesday published patent 8,677,377, ‘Method and apparatus for building an intelligent automated assistant,’ which describes what is essentially a higher-end Siri that can provide automated assistance to people in a wide array of circumstances.”

Patently Apple says the tech relies on software and a combination of sensors to identify where people are, and uses the information it gathers to track their habits and tendencies.

Laura GazeLaura Gaze, Director, IP Solutions: The future of scannable tech is based in this RFID-type of technology. Disney recently invested over a billion dollars into installing this at their theme parks, MLB will test Apple iBeacon at Citi Field in Flushing, New York this summer, and now it appears that Apple will look to continue to push this intuitive tech in the form of an enhances Siri. Of course, this has all kinds of interesting commercial applications, especially as companies look to learn more about their consumers, so this development bears significant interest.

Laura Gaze, Senior Marketing Manager, IP Solutions Patents , , , ,

Apple, Samsung Headed for Court Over Patent Dispute

February 26th, 2014

Apple and Samsung failed to agree on a settlement in their U.S. patent dispute, setting up another court battle between the two companies again in March.

According to the Wall Street Journal, executives from both companies, including Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook and Samsung Co-Chief Executive J.K. Shin, met in February with a mediator to try to settle, but they couldn’t reach an agreement. Now, Apple and Samsung will continue to fight in courts world-wide over patent infringement.

Apple initially sued Samsung in 2011, saying that the South Korean company copied the design and feel of the iPhone and the iPad, and was awarded a ruling of rough $1 billion by a federal jury. This March’s trial between the two companies involves different Apple patents, used in more-recent Samsung products, such as the Galaxy S III smartphone. The Journal says that, since the trial involves newer products that were bigger sellers, industry experts say there is a possibility of an even larger damages award, if Samsung is found to have infringed Apple’s patents.

Laura GazeLaura Gaze, Director, IP Solutions: And the beat goes on between these two companies. The failed mediation didn’t come as much of a surprise, and now Samsung stands to lose big again if Apple can prove infringement in court. We speculated all the way back in 2012 that companies would be more diligent about protecting the shape, size and technology of their smartphones, but, clearly, this continued to be an issue in the smartphone space.

Others in the industry have surely taken notice of this ongoing battle. Even some deals, such as Google’s recent sale of Motorola to Lenovo, could be seen as a distant ripple radiating from these battles between Samsung and Apple. There’s no doubt another finding for Apple could put Samsung on the ropes, but for just exactly how it would affect their operations moving forward…that’s anyone’s guess. One thing is for sure: a lot will be on the line this time around.

Laura Gaze, Senior Marketing Manager, IP Solutions Patents , , ,