Are U.S. Companies the Most Innovative?

According to a new report, U.S. firms are indeed among the most innovative. The report, published by Thompson Reuters, examined a series of patent-related metrics to come up with a list of the top 100 leaders in innovation.

As the report notes, “Patent activity has always been an indicator of innovation.” To get a better picture of how global companies stack up, the report measured patent volume, success, global reach, and influence.

Of the top ten innovators, six were American companies. They included: 3M Company, Advanced Micro Devices, Inc., Alcon, Inc., Analog Devices, Inc., Apple, Inc., and Applied Materials, Inc.

The United States was also particularly dominant in semiconductors and related industries. U.S. firms, such as Intel and Qualcomm, account for 40% of the firms on the list. Japan represented 27% of them (where all of Asia only accounts for 31%).

One of the most surprising results is that India and China do not rank very high, despite the fact that China has seen rapid growth in patenting. In fact, the country is poised to file the most patents worldwide in coming years.

Most of those patents are only being filed in China, says analyst Bob Stembridge of Thomson Reuters IP Solutions, and it may be too early for their effects to be reflected in the report’s measures of innovative success.

The report team plans to update its findings in coming years. The current report can be viewed in its entirety here.

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