Happy New Year to all our Clients, Colleagues and Friends!
We hope 2018 started on a high note for you! To kick off this first newsletter of the year, and true to our mission of bringing innovation to market, we are featuring stories which explore the correlation between patents and innovation. A new Stanford Graduate School of Business study looking at a big data analysis of US patents over the past 200 years offers a very interesting historical perspective. We also analyze global patenting trends by country/region for 2016, as recently published by the World IP Organization (WIPO), with a particular focus on China and the US.
I am starting 2018 with a new position as a Board Member of the Silicon Valley Chapter of the Licensing Executives Society (U.S.A. & Canada), one of over 40 chapters in North America. LES-SVC was founded in 2000 by my dear friend, Larry Udell, and has grown to be one of the most successful LES chapters in the world, with more meetings and attendees than any other chapter. I hope you can attend some of the LES-SVC events this coming year, as highlighted in the Upcoming Events section in this newsletter.
On behalf of myself and the Foresight team, we wish you an innovative and prolific 2018!
From the Foresight Blog
Insights from WIPO's
"World IP Indicators 2017" Report: Key Patenting Trends Around the Globe"
The World IP Organization (WIPO) has recently published its annual report titled: "
World Intellectual Property Indicators 2017
covering world IP filing activity for 2016. The report is a comprehensive coverage of global patent and trademark filing trends, comparing and ranking the world's leading regional patent and trademark offices by their level of activity in the various categories.
At a high level, it seems like many of the trends observed in 2015 continue into 2016: the global number of filings and grants keeps trending up; China continues to dominate in terms of annual filings and grants (breaking another record of 1.3 million filings this year); and the top 10 filing companies worldwide are all Asia-based multinationals.
When it comes to understanding China's continued explosive growth in new patent applications - over 1.3 million filed in 2016, an increase from the 1.1 million in 2015 (the first year the 1 million filings barrier has been exceeded in any country) - the circumstances surrounding the increase in Chinese patent filings are unique and should have come as no surprise to anyone following the Chinese government's five-year plan of 2011.
As discussed in an
article I published in Nov. 2016 in the EE Times
, over the last 50 years the Chinese Communist Party implemented a series of five-year plans which guided China's rapid economic growth. The 2011 five-year plan's themes of sustainable growth included some specific targets for patent filing per capita. The increased filing activity over the last five years is the direct result of a calculated government effort, enabled by an unprecedented allocation of legislative and administrative resources to support China's State IP Office. Thus, the sharp rise in Chinese patent filings between 2010 and 2016 is very unique to China's political circumstances, and is not necessarily correlated with the natural progression of innovation.
When reviewing filing trends by country, one of the most critical observations is the ratio of resident to non-resident filings. A higher ratio of non-resident filings in any given country, is usually an indication not only of the size of that market for the underlying innovations, but also of the strength of the IP enforcement regime in that country. Here, the trends from 2015 are repeating in 2016: the ratio in China is about 90% resident filers to 10% non-resident filers, a reflection of the relatively weak enforcement regime in China. Conversely, the USPTO and the European Patent Office exhibit a ratio of resident to non-resident filings of about 50/50, attesting to the strength of IP enforcement regimes in those regions.
To read our full analysis of the 2017 report, please go to the
Innovation Spotlight: Stanford Study
Which Revolution is More Historic: Industrial or Tech?
A new big data study from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, spanning 200 years of patents shows that innovation bursts in the 1800s had greater social impact.
The team of researchers has developed a novel strategy that applies big data computing to several million patent text documents to rank the innovative importance of almost every U.S. patent over the past 200 years - and to identify historical spikes of epic inventing. One of those spikes has indeed been during the past two decades, and it's been dominated by electronics and communications.
The biggest surge, as measured by this paper, came in the early to mid-1800s and featured inventions that revolutionized transportation, manufacturing, and the nature of big cities. Among the most important: vulcanized rubber, invented by Charles Goodyear, which became crucial in tires but also improved a vast range of industrial products; the elevator, invented by Elisha Otis, which made it practical to build skyscrapers and set the stage for modern cities; and the sewing machine, invented by Elias Howe, which transformed the garment industry.
A second big wave began in the late 1800s. The big breakthroughs in that era included the telephone in 1876; the internal combustion engine in 1877; the incandescent light bulb in 1880; the mechanical calculator and the first electric motor to run on alternating current, both in 1888. Orville Wright's patent for the airplane, a blockbuster as measured in this study, came in 1906.
For a full review of the paper, please read