Ed White, head of analytics for the IP Group of Clarivate Analytics shares key findings from the Derwent Top 100 Global Innovators™ 2020 report. This annual initiative by the Derwent team at Clarivate Analytics measures and ranks facets of patent activity to produce a shortlist of innovating corporations and research institutions that sit at the very top of the global innovation ecosystem.
Making the cut: from 14,000 organizations, we condense to the Top 100
Patent analysis as a practice has evolved significantly over the past 20 years. Initially, much analysis of patent activity revolved around assessing the volume of activity in a sector, from a patent applicant or within a portfolio. While still useful for basic trend analysis, this doesn’t account for one key issue: patents are not all the same.
Some inventions are highly cited and have greater influence on downstream applications; others are not.
Some inventions are filed broadly in many countries at much higher expense; others aren’t.
And some inventions issue as granted patents; many do not.
“Of the thousands of patent applicants that pass through our volumetric bar, we rank each of them on influence, globalization and success metrics against all other entities in the analysis, finally producing the 100 that sit at the top.”
The methodology of the Derwent Top 100 Global Innovators program uses volume of activity from a patent applicant simply as a qualifying factor for candidacy in the measure, after which other factors come into play: the level of downstream influence on others, the level of broad patent filing and the level of granted patent issuance.
Of the thousands of patent applicants that pass through our volumetric bar, we rank each of them on influence, globalization and success metrics against all other entities in the analysis, finally producing the 100 that sit at the top. These metrics cross the threshold of patent output as a proxy for purely risk mitigation and legal protection activity, to a proxy for the content, importance and quality of ideation and inventiveness – innovation – of the organizations themselves.
A tougher challenge
2020 is the ninth year that we have run the program using the same methodology. This year we dig into this backfile of data, beyond the Top 100, to identify trends that are otherwise difficult to discover.
For example, we reviewed the proportion of global patent activity emanating from Top 1,000 global innovators. We found that while six years ago, over a quarter of all inventions came from the Top 1,000, today this has decreased to 18%.
The consequence of that change in the innovation ecosystem is one of increasing fragmentation and difficulty. Innovators need new strategies to understand who is an active competitor and where potentially disruptive or enabling ideas are occurring.
This phenomenon – that staying at the top is getting harder – is the common theme of our 2020 report. Whether looking at the overall scale of patented ideas, the number of innovators active globally, the amount of ingenuity required to innovate today or indeed being part of the Derwent Top 100 Global Innovators list itself, all speak to increasing complexity, effort and intensity.
“This phenomenon – that staying at the top is getting harder – is the common theme of our 2020 report.”
For us at Clarivate, this underlines the need to continue our mission of providing clarity and context, empowering innovators with the intelligence needed to navigate a world where the pace of innovation is always accelerating.