Report: Patent Activity At A High But Decline In Scientific Research Could Show Innovation Slowing 04/06/2015 by Eimear Murphy for Intellectual Property Watch 1 Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Patent activity is currently at an all-time high, with statistics showing large growth across industry sectors in the volume of patents being filed. However, the production of scientific literature is declining, according to a new report from Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters has published The Future Is Open: 2015 State of Innovation. The report treats patents as a “proxy for innovation” in its analysis of the future of innovation and innovation activity across various sectors of industry. Twelve sectors are examined in the report in relation to research and patent activity: Aerospace & Defense; Automotive; Biotechnology; Cosmetics & Wellbeing; Food, Beverage & Tobacco; Home Appliances; Information Technology; Medical Devices; Oil & Gas; Pharmaceuticals; Semiconductors; and Telecommunications. Innovation and the Role of Patents The report considers the role of patents as a measurement, indicator or “proxy” for innovation. An analysis of patent statistics can offer insight into the state of innovation across sectors of industry, it says. While patent information can be demonstrative of a company’s value, the report says, it is not just the quantity of patents that highlights innovation but rather the type of inventions that are being patented in addition to the level of research that is going into the invention. The report states that scientific literature is a “precursor to patenting by approximately three-to-five years,” as scientific research leads discovery. In order to determine the state of research and innovation, scientific research is assessed alongside patent activity. Increase in Patent Volume across Sectors The statistics, all compiled by Thomson Reuters in the report, show that while there was a slowdown in the year-over-year growth rate, patent volume worldwide reached a record high. Notably, the biotechnology industry has grown by 7 percent from 39,685 patents in 2013 to 42,584 patents in 2014. The cosmetics and wellbeing industry has grown by 8 percent from 10,197 patents in 2013 to 11,017 patents in 2014. The pharmaceutical industry grew by 12 percent from 99,950 patents in 2013 to 111,479 patents in 2014. And the food, tobacco and beverage industry grew by 21 percent from 21,758 patents in 2013 to 26,333 patents in 2014. However, some industries showed a decline in patent volume growth. The aerospace and defence industry decreased from 63,080 patents in 2013 to 62,162 patents in 2014. This is a decline in growth of 1 percent. There also was no percentage growth in the home appliances sector. Growth in the medical devices sector has decreased by 6 percent and growth in the semiconductors industry has declined by 5 percent. Patent Volume Growth within Subsectors of Industry The report analyses patent volume growth from 2013-2014 within each subsector of industry. The aerospace and defense sector saw increased patent volume growth in advanced materials (5%), structures & systems (25%), instrumentation (33%), propulsion plants (21%) and space technology (17%). Production techniques have declined by 6 percent. The automotive industry saw much decline across subsectors, however, safety grew by 6 percent. The biotechnology subsector of general biotechnology has grown by 9 percent, while the cancer treatment subsector has grown by 11 percent. Patent volume growth of drug discovery declined by 21 percent. The subsectors of the cosmetics and wellbeing sector showed much growth. Make-up (3%), skin (11%), hair (3%) and perfume (12%) all had patent volume growth from 2013 to 2014. The food, beverage and tobacco subsectors showed an increase in patent volume. Meat has increased by 31 percent, bakery has increased by 21 percent, brewing has increased by 21 percent and tobacco by 8 percent. The sugar and starch subsector had a decline of 11 percent. In home appliances, the heating and air conditioning subsector has grown by 9 percent. The majority of subsectors of information technology have declined, for example, there was a 9 percent decline in the volume of patents for smart media. Computing showed a 5 percent growth of patent volume between 2013 and 2014. All subsectors of medical devices showed a decline in patent volume growth, with a 12 percent decline in the medical aids, oral administration subsector. The oil and gas subsector of petroleum and gas, exploration, drilling, production and processing saw a 1 percent growth increase. The majority of pharmaceutical industry subsectors showed growth. Notably, the organics subsector has grown by 18 percent and inorganics has grown by 13 percent. All semiconductor subsectors have declined from 2013 to 2014 in terms of patent volume growth, including integrated circuits which have declined by 10 percent. In telecommunications subsectors, notably telephone subscriber equipment has grown by 10 percent and mobile telephony has grown by 9 percent. Decline in Scientific Research The report analyses scientific research across the sectors from 2004 to 2014. It shows that there was a decline in scientific research, and this may be an indicator that innovation is slowing down. The State of Innovation Across Sectors The report analyses the state of innovation in each of the sectors: Aerospace & Defense The most influential aerospace research hails from the US, particularly from the University of Michigan, which published 446 papers from 2004 to 2014 with a relative citation impact of 1.78. The report states that commercial and defence organisations are looking to innovators to help them succeed in changing markets that are full of competitive challenges. These organisations are seeking more value, capability and reliability in a quicker and more affordable manner. Automotive Again, the University of Michigan came out on top for scientific research in the automotive industry, with the publication of 324 papers from 2004 to 2014. The report observes that while improvements in safety and environmental performance of vehicles has continued, substantial investment is needed in hydrogen propulsion technology. Additionally, establishing more recharging stations will allow for the growth of battery electric vehicles. Biotechnology The most influential research institution in biotechnology is the Broad Institute in the US. Some 392 papers were published from 2004 to 2014 with a relative citation impact of 7.54. The report states that both academic and corporate innovators are developing possibilities for an “individual-based approach” to medicine and this will lead to “targeted drugs in treatment strategies that address the unique make-up of a human being.” Cosmetics & Wellbeing The University of Sao Paulo led the research for the cosmetics and wellbeing industry with the publication of 153 papers. The report states that the industry is expected to reach $630 billion in revenue by 2017. Peta Leggatt, pharmaceutical and technical expert at Thomson Reuters, said in the report that, “Like many other sectors, the cosmetics and well-being industry is evolving in pace with new technological and chemical advancements.” Food, Beverage, Tobacco The University of British Columbia was the leader of the scientific research institutions with the publication of 400 papers related to this industry from 2004 to 2014 with a relative citation impact of 1.99. China led the innovation in the industry, with 70 percent of the top 10 innovators coming from China. The report notes that the food industry is moving away from processed foods due to demands for healthier foods. Home Appliances The most prolific scientific research institution for home appliances is the University of Zaragoza in Spain with the publication of 102 papers. The report states that the public is throwing away appliances that still work. Additionally, it notes the challenges innovators face in embracing “function, fashion and overall fitness for purpose,” in addition to the extension of the “purposeful life of domestic appliances.” Information Technology Technical University Czestochowa in Poland was the leader of the most influential scientific-research institutions in computer science, with the publication of 348 papers with a relative citation impact of 6.26, with the other top institutions hailing from the US, UK, France and Israel. The report notes that due to the recent news of the acquisition of Nest Labs (a smoke detector and thermostat developer) by Google, the world is now on “the verge of a race for control of the smart home.” Medical Devices The US is the world leader for medical device-related research. The top 10 institutions are from the US. Leading these is the US Food and Drug Administration which published 201 papers, and Harvard University which published 166 papers from 2004 to 2014. Innovation in the medical device industry sees the development of microneedle patches and electroceuticals. This bioelectric innovation will allow professionals in healthcare to “target a specific nerve and modify electrical impulses to treat the problem,” it says.. Oil & Gas Imperial College London and the US Department of Energy led the research institutions, publishing 128 and 111 papers, respectively. China is shown as the most innovative region in the Oil & Gas sector with companies Sinopec and PetroChina taking the financial lead for 2014’s top five petroleum innovators globally. The report notes “the short-term scramble for the planet’s remaining fossil-fuel resources raises political pressures that can only get more difficult in the long term.” Therefore, innovation in the oil and gas industry will focus on speeding up the capture of these resources. Pharmaceuticals Goethe University Frankfurt Hospital in Germany took the lead for research institutions, publishing 392 papers with a relative citation impact of 4.87. But China took the lead as the most innovative globally, with the Chinese Academy of Sciences taking the top spot for the 2014 financials of the top five pharmaceutical innovators globally, followed by Roche in Switzerland. The future of innovation in this sector is focused on mass market “blockbuster” drugs. This is despite the “dawn of genomics-driven, target based drug discovery,” it says. “The future of medicines is individual, genomics-driven, target-based drug discovery, but the near future is all about yet more mass market, blockbuster drugs that reap the billions the pharma industry has invested in the Innovation lifecycle.” The report notes that controversy surrounds blockbuster drugs, for example, in relation to hepatitis C drugs. Sovaldi costs $84,000 for a course of treatment and Harvoni costs $95,000 for a course of treatment. Nevertheless, by 2019, these drugs are expected to have multi-billion dollar sales. Jon Brett Harris, managing director of Thomson Reuters Life Sciences, said in the report, “biosimilars must deliver the power of the reference drugs at a price developing countries can afford and gain the confidence of the marketplace.” Semiconductors The leading research institution is the Chinese Academy of Sciences in China, publishing 6,425 papers between 2004 and 2014. This sector is in a “transitional” phase, the report said. Manufacturers are looking for partners via open innovation. Telecommunication The institution leading research is Rice University in the US, publishing 323 papers between 2004 and 2014 with a relative citation impact of 4.31. Samsung (South Korea) and Huawei (China) led the 2014 financials for the top five mobile telephony innovators globally. The report notes that telecoms and mobile telephone are increasingly expanding and that the “time is ripe for consolidation.” Eimear Murphy is a researcher at IP-Watch. She is an LL.M. graduate from American University Washington College of Law in Washington, DC with a specialty in Intellectual Property and Information Policy issues. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Eimear Murphy may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."Report: Patent Activity At A High But Decline In Scientific Research Could Show Innovation Slowing" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.