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Top Innovators See Innovation Through a Global Lens


This week, Reuters published its Top 100 Global Innovators report.  Cutting through all the ‘buzz’ surrounding innovation, this year’s report focuses in on how innovation is measured. Beyond patent filing volume, top innovators, says Reuters, are “companies that invent on a significant scale; are working on developments which are acknowledged as innovative by patent offices across the world, and by their peers; and, whose inventions are so important that they seek global protection for them.”Innovation through a global lens

Criteria for Reuter’s Top 100 Global Innovators include:

  • The ratio of published applications (those patents which are filed and publicly published by the patent office but not yet granted) to granted patents over the most recent three years.
  • The impact of an invention “down the line” as determined by looking at how often it is subsequently cited by other companies in their inventions.
  • Volume and ‘innovativeness’ of patents (for example, the first publication in a patent document of a new technology, drug, or business process). Only companies with 100 or more ‘innovative’ patents from the most recent three years were included in Reuters’ analysis. 
  • Rigorous vetting and determining of the market potential of an invention and actively seeking protection for it around the world.

Innovation leaders, says Reuters, “encourage idea generation and the invention process. They have established systems for vetting their innovation funnels and determining which ideas are worthy of protection. They rigorously monitor prior art and the competitive landscape, and prosecute the best-of-the-best in terms of concept generation.”

Key findings of the report include:

  • The largest percentage of Top Global Innovator companies hail from North America: 40%. Asia accounts for 31% of the most innovative companies (with Japan accounting for 27% of the representation) and Europe for 29%. France is the European nation with the most companies represented on the list.
  • The most prevalent industry within the Top 100 list is Semiconductor & Electronic Component Manufacturing; 14 of the 100 companies are from this sector.
  • The Top 100 Global Innovator companies added more than 400,000 new jobs in 2010, a greater percent increase over 2009 than was experienced by the S&P 500
  • The Market Cap Weighted Average revenue of the Top 100 Global Innovators increased by 12.9 percent from 2009 to 2010, more than five percent more than the S&P 500 for the same period
  • On average, Top 100 Global Innovator companies more than doubled the R&D spend of their S&P 500 counterparts
  • Nearly three-quarters of the publicly-traded Top 100 Innovator companies had an increase in stock price year over year

Click here to access the complete report.