Another Top-10 List — Most Patents 1977-2015

Innovation is a leading indicator of potential future economic growth. A measure of innovation is the number of patents registered. Which countries are the most innovative in the world?

To answer this, (a very unique source of an array of research topics), gathered the number of patents issued from 1977 through 2015 from around the world. The U.S. leads number two Japan by almost a three-to-one factor. Japan leads number three Germany again by a three-to-one factor. Germany leads 4th ranked South Korea by more than two-to-one. The top-10 countries are listed in the following table.

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When looked at from a different perspective (number of patents registered per 1,000 people), the U.S. remains at the top. The following table shows the top-10 countries based on that metric. Note that you do not hear of corporate espionage from these 10 countries, rather that is more common from countries with far fewer patents (innovation).

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Also included in their study was a breakdown by U.S. States on the number of patents issued, as shown in the following table. California, if it were a country, would rank third in the world behind Japan. New York would be 4th in the world, and Texas 5th.

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Innovation. It takes place every day in every field. In the oil and gas world, for example, 30 months ago it took 40 days to drill and hydraulic fracture a site. Today that has been cut to 19 days. That results in a massive decline in drilling costs, somewhat counteracting lower prices today.


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