Patents are a key measure of innovation. Governments, academia and industry use them to inform policy decisions, track trends, and gather technological and commercial intelligence. However, while straight counting of granted patents is useful, it only provides part of a much bigger and more important innovation picture. For a patented invention to be valuable, it must be good quality, have wide market potential and lay foundations for further developments and refinements. Accordingly, we not only counted the volume of inventions, but measured patent quality, globalization, and impact.

Our methodology was analyzing patent and citation data across four criteria: volume, success, globalization and influence using Derwent solutions. This included the Derwent World Patents Index (DWPI), Derwent Innovation and the Derwent Patent Citations Index (DPCI). This methodology examines patent portfolio strength and quality by organization, assessing not just volume of filed patents, but success in obtaining granted patents, breadth of filing of inventions and external citations. These criteria create a combined indicator score used to identify the top 100 most innovative organizations globally.

1. Volume

All organizations with 100 or more patented new inventions covered by a granted patent in the last five years were analyzed. A new invention was defined as the first publication of a patent document claiming a technology, drug, business process, etc., not previously described in prior art. In DWPI, these are called “basics.” DWPI provides a record of patents published by 50 patent issuing authorities worldwide to enable a comprehensive picture of the innovation landscape. Subsequent filings for the same invention are recorded as “equivalents” in DWPI and collated in “patent families.” The analysis counts these patent families rather than individual patent documents, thereby only counting unique inventions. This prevents duplicate counting of patents describing the same inventions.

Once an organization passes the selection by Volume stage, it is measured across three further criteria: Success, Globalization and Influence.

2. Success

Not all patent applications that pass through the examination process become granted patents. As a result, our Success metric assesses the quality of innovation by measuring the ratio over the most recent five years of inventions described in published applications (those patents which are filed and publicly published by patent offices, but not yet granted) to inventions protected with granted patents.

3. Globalization

Protecting inventions in major world markets indicates the significant value organizations place on their innovations and intellectual property. The number of basic inventions that have quadrilateral patents in their patent families, according to the DWPI, is calculated to create a ratio that shows which companies place a high value on their portfolios in major world markets. The quadrilateral patent authorities are the Chinese Patent Office, the European Patent Office, the Japanese Patent Office, and the United States Patent & Trademark Office.

4. Influence

In our analysis, the impact of an invention “downstream” is determined by looking at how often it is subsequently cited by other companies in the patenting of their inventions. Through the DPCI, citations to an organization’s patents were counted over the last five years, excluding self-citations. Scores for each of these areas were tallied and combined to produce the Derwent Top 100 Global Innovator list.


About Derwent

Derwent powers the innovation lifecycle from idea to commercialization — with trusted patent data, applications and services including:

  • Derwent Innovation: Locate, analyze and simplify the most relevant patent matter for your business on our world leading patent research platform
  • Derwent World Patents Index (DWPI): Identify the novelty value of a patent with our comprehensive, global database of patent abstracts
  • Derwent Patents Citation Index (DPCI): Find out which patents are exerting the most influence in your industry
  • Derwent Data Analyzer: Transform patent data into commercial insight with our advanced data mining solution

Coupled with our expert IP Services, Derwent offers the complete solution suite to monitor technology trends and competitive landscapes, inform FTO opinions, prosecute patents, monetize and license assets and support litigation activities. Our clients include inventors, patent attorneys and licensing specialists at start-ups and the largest global innovators, legal professionals at the leading intellectual property practices and patent examiners at more than 40 patent offices.

To find out more about Derwent, please visit us at:

Derwent Top 100 Global Innovators 2018–19

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  • which industry takes the top spot
  • why there is an innovation shift towards Asia
  • what defines a Top 100 Global Innovator