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Patent Trends 2012 -- Thomson Reuters Evaluates the State of Global Innovation

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Medical Devices growth spurt continues; Tobacco-related inventions spark up 58 percent

The Intellectual Property & Science business of Thomson Reuters, the world’s leading provider of intelligent information for businesses and professionals, released its annual analysis of global patent trends today in its fourth-annual State of Innovation report. This publication tracks patent activity across 12 key technology areas using the Thomson Reuters Derwent World Patents Index® (DWPISM) database.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Medical Device Patent Volume Rises: The largest increase in patent activity over the prior period was in the medical device technology area, which grew by 15.7 percent, a reinforcement of the importance of these inventions in addressing health issues of the world’s exploding population.
  • Food, Tobacco, & Beverage Fermentation Innovation Sees Largest Subsector Increases: The sub-categories under the technology area of Food, Tobacco & Beverage Fermentation saw the largest subsector increases across all areas. Tobacco-related innovation sparked up 58 percent and sugar-related inventions were sweetened 56 percent, as manufacturers of these goods seek alternative pathways to profit.
  • Japan Most Active Country in Asia Pacific Region: Japan had the greatest representation amongst the top 10 assignees of the featured subsectors in the Asia Pacific region. China, despite being the world leader in overall patent filing volume, holds 27 of the top 120 assignee slots, whereas Japan has 67 of them.
  • Computers & Peripherals - a Leader and Follower: The technology area with the largest overall volume continues to be Computers & Peripherals, for the fourth consecutive year, with a volume of 232,549 filings in 2012. Within this area, the subcategory of Computers inched ahead 3 percent (to a total of 201,608 filings), whereas scanners experienced a 34 percent decline over the prior period, as this technology becomes more obsolete.

“This report is an excellent example of the insights that can be gleaned from Thomson Reuters proprietary patent data in DWPI,” said Cynthia Murphy, senior vice president of Thomson Reuters IP Solutions. “As the market leader in global intellectual property information, it is the aim of our business to highlight valuable industry trends that enable strategic decision making.”

The data in this report were compiled using the Thomson Reuters DWPI database to aggregate granted patents and published applications (examined and unexamined) from January 1 through December 12, 2012.

View the full State of Innovation report here: 2012 State of Innovation: Twelve Key Technology Areas and their States of Innovation.

About Thomson Reuters

Thomson Reuters is the world's leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. We combine industry expertise with innovative technology to deliver critical information to leading decision makers in the financial and risk, legal, tax and accounting, intellectual property and science and media markets, powered by the world's most trusted news organization. With headquarters in New York and major operations in London and Eagan, Minnesota, Thomson Reuters employs approximately 60,000 people and operates in over 100 countries. For more information, go to

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