Japan, the U.S., Germany, France, the United Kingdom and South Korea have alone accounted for 75 percent of all-time patent filings in three breakthrough areas: robotics, 3D printing and nanotechnology. China is the only ‘emerging middle-income country’ moving closer to this group. The results are part of the ‘World Intellectual Property Report 2015 – Breakthrough Innovation and Economic Growth’, produced by the United Nations’ World Intellectual Property Organisation.
Japanese companies, such as Honda, Nissan, Sony, Toyota and Panasonic, clearly lead the way in robotics, the document shows – side by side with Bosch, from Germany, and Samsung of South Korea.
Samsung also tops the list for nanotechnology patents, while U.S. organisations, namely, IBM, Hewlett Packard and the University of California, have filed collectively for the most requests in this area. Still, the top 10 are again dominated by Japan (six out of 10). Most 3D printing patents originate from the U.S., but German and Japanese companies make the leading list, as well.
Building innovative countries
What does it take to develop successful innovation ecosystems within countries? ‘Government funding for scientific research and support in moving promising technology from the laboratory to the production stage; competitive market forces that encourage firms to innovate, supported by vibrant financial markets and sound regulation, and fluid linkages between public and private innovation actors’ are key, the report emphasises.