Who are the patent champs of 2009? Samsung and Toyota, of course. But would you have guessed Mondobiotech, a Swiss company that specializes in fermentation?
Thomson Reuters just forwarded to me data on patents awarded by 41 government authorities around the world in 2009, broken down into 12 key industries. The financial info company also listed top recipients in a number of industry subsectors, such as smart media under the overall computer heading.
I know, patent volume doesn’t equal innovation. But all these Excel spreadsheets do suggest where inventiveness is flourishing. By industry, creativity abounds most in computers and peripherals. This sector tallied 226,293 patents last year, or 29% of the total of all 12 groupings. Second is semiconductors with 95,106 patents, followed by telecommunications with 90,867, and automotive with 89,106, or roughly 12% each.
The subsector figures may be less significant, since they represent just a slice of the pie and sometimes a pretty skimpy one at that. But the lists are more fun, because here’s where Thomson Reuters names names.
In smart media, Samsung is tops. It’s also No. 1 in space vehicles and satellite technologies within aerospace, discrete devices within semiconductors, and mobile telephony within telecommunications. Toyota leads in both petroleum fuels and chemical engineering within petrochemicals, and alternative-powered vehicles within automotive.
My personal fave is under the industrial heading called food, tobacco, and fermentation, which I automatically assumed must mean beer and booze. Altogether, this industry received 35,375 in 2009, which puts it ahead of domestic appliances, aerospace, agribusiness, and cosmetics. And four of every five patents in this industry are in fermentation—bottoms up! Turns out it’s not really that kind of fermentation. It’s the kind used to cook up biomedicines, which explains why Mondobiotech of Statts, Switzerland wins.
To close, here’s a Top 10 list to ponder. It’s organics, which account for nearly two-thirds of new patents worldwide in the pharmaceutical industry.
1. National Institute of Biological Science, Beijing
4. University of California
5. Zhejiang University, China
6. National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science & Technology, Japan
7. Suzhou ANJ Biotech
9. Abbott Laboratories
What comes next? The Bloomberg Businessweek Innovation and Design blog chronicles new tools for creativity and collaboration, innovation case studies in both the corporate and social sectors, and the new ideas that have the power to change the way things have always been done.