The computing and peripherals technology industry took the lead in innovation across the globe for the fifth year running, a new analysis of global patents has revealed.
Last year has seen the biggest number of patents applied for or granted, more than in any other year in history including driverless cars, targeted drug delivery or bionic limbs, according to a Thomson Reuters analysis.
Computer and peripherals logged 300,000 unique inventions, more than twice as many as the runner up, telecommunications.
The three technology areas with the greatest year-over-year increases were automotive, domestic appliances and petroleum, each of which jumped by 35 per cent over prior year figures.
Toyota was the leader in overall alternative powered vehicles, surpassing its nearest competitor, Honda by 300 per cent, while bumping its own output over the prior period by 52 per cent.
Domestic appliances saw increases across all sectors between 28 per cent and 40 per cent compared to the previous year.
The largest jump in year-over-year innovation activity was in aerospace, specifically within the structures and systems subsector, which skyrocketed 192 per cent over the prior period.
Boeing took the overall global lead with the most innovations in space vehicles and satellite technologies.
The only area to show a year-over-year decline is biotechnology, which dropped 3 per cent from the prior year.
Talking about the role that patents play, Bruce Nolop, chief financial officer at global tech company Pitney Bowes, said: “First, patents produce higher and more certain investment returns from innovation, effectively ensuring and magnifying the first-mover advantage and helping to justify sustained investments in research and development.
“Second, patents create a scorecard for measuring innovation. The number of patents often serves as a quantifiable metric in setting corporate objectives and facilitates comparisons with competitors and industry benchmarks.”