World Intellectual Property Report-2019
The 2019 edition of WIPO’s World Intellectual Property Report analyzed millions of patent and scientific publication records across several decades to conclude that innovative activity has grown increasingly collaborative and transnational, while originating in a few large clusters located in a small number of countries.
Some 30 metropolitan hotspots alone accounted for 69 percent of patents and 48 percent of scientific activity during the 2015-2017 period. They are mostly located in five countries – China, Germany, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the United States of America (U.S.). The share of scientific collaborations with two or more researchers located in different countries grew to around 25 percent in 2017. For patents, the share of international co-inventions increased to 11 percent until 2009, but has since slightly fallen, partly because of rapid growth in domestic collaborations in certain countries.
“Today’s innovation landscape is highly globally interlinked,”. “Increasingly complex technological solutions for shared global challenges need ever larger and more-specialized teams of researchers, which rely on international collaboration. It is imperative that economies remain open in the pursuit of innovation.”
- Before 2000, Japan, the U.S. and Western European economies accounted for 90 percent of patenting and more than 70 percent of scientific publishing activity worldwide. These shares have fallen to 70 percent and 50 percent, respectively, for the 2015-2017 period amid increased activity in China, India, Israel, Singapore, the Republic of Korea, among others.
- Multinational companies locate their research and development (R&D) activities in hotspots that offer specialized knowledge and skills. For example, Google’s headquarters in Silicon Valley only account for somewhat less than half of the company’s patenting activity, with Zurich, New York City and London showing as other important sources of inventor locations.
- Multinational companies from middle-income economies – such as Embraer and Infosys – frequently ‘source’ innovation from the top hotspots in high-income economies, but hardly do so from other middle-income economies.
- There are notable differences in patterns of scientific and inventive activity. Scientific activity is internationally more widespread. There are many middle-income economies hosting universities and other research organizations that generate large numbers of scientific publications – often in collaboration with partners in the U.S. and Europe.
- The rise of highly successful innovation hotspots has coincided with a growing inter-regional polarization of incomes, high-skilled employment and wages within countries. While other factors have contributed to such regional inequalities, regional support and development policies can play an important role in helping regions that have fallen behind.