Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower

Written by: Fleming. Team

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower." - Steve Jobs


Innovation starts with a creative idea. An intellectual property right should be the stamp that seals that idea. The role of IP rights is growing larger and more valuable. These rights not only support and foster innovation, technological evolution, patent development, well-being of consumers but also economic growth, knowledge and the market overall.

According to a research paper by Bhaven N. Sampat from November 2015, new technologies have shaped patent laws and practices as much as patents have influenced innovation incentives; in other words, technology and institutions have co-evolved.1

However, if you want to reach all of the above in patent portfolio development and innovation, you need intellectual property strategies refined and ready to aid in protecting innovators to facilitate and reward driving innovation forward. What are the rules these strategies must follow?

  • Identify the long-term opportunities
  • Be revolutionary; be the rule-breaker
  • Do not accept a given space on the market – look for a competitive one
  • Seek breakthroughs and disruptive innovation
  • Combine discipline and creativity
  • Seek inspiration from unconventional sources
  • Seek unarticulated customer needs as well as customer delight
  • Experiment with organizational structures2

According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the number of patent grants awarded in the United States fell in 2015 for the first time since 2007. However, the competition remains pretty strong. What were the 10 most innovative companies for 2015 according to the number of patents?


1) Samsung Electronics with 8,090 patents

2) IBM with 7,355 patents

3) Canon with 4,134 patents

4) LG Electronics with 3,882 patents

5) Google with 3,195 patents

6) Toshiba with 3,110 patents

7) Qualcomm with 2,961 patents

8) Sony with 2,889 patents

9) Microsoft with 2,412 patents

10) Panasonic with 2,408 patents


Google and Microsoft were once in an intellectual property war. It started before Motorola was acquired by Google. Microsoft sued Motorola in 2010 for a breach to fairly license their patent. After 2010, Microsoft inherited the case and in 2013 won, receiving $14.5 million against the damages caused due to the case. The battle was over, but the war was not. Microsoft tried to ban Motorola phones in the U.S. and also accused Google of copying the technology without crediting their Android system.

However, at a press conference held on October 1st, 2015, both companies announced their agreement to dismiss 20 patent lawsuits that both companies had filed over patents of smartphones, video games and Wi-Fi technology. They also agreed they would cooperate against patent-licensing firms that don’t make products and are bantered as “trolls.” 4

But friends or foes, competition is competition; they will still make different products and fight for their piece of the market. So, with new technologies emerging, how long will this peace stand? Innova...




Find out more at: Open Innovation Forum