The report shows that global R&D and patenting activities remain highly concentrated
within the world’s top 2 000 R&D investors. These are responsible for 87% of global
business R&D expenditure by the private sector and 63% of patent filings across all
technologies. There is much less concentration at the commercialisation stage, with only
6% of all trademarks owned by the top R&D investors. Among the top R&D investors,
R&D investments, patents and trademarks are highly concentrated within the hands of a
few hundred companies. United States (US)-based firms lead the ranking in almost every
sector. Companies located in Japan and in the European Union (EU27) have recently
been losing ground to companies based in People’s Republic of China (hereafter ‘China’).
A few sectors dominate both R&D investments and patent filings, including ‘Computers
& electronics’, ‘Pharmaceuticals’ and ‘Transport equipment’. Looking at the IP bundle,
we observe key sectoral differences: companies in ‘Transport equipment’, ‘Electrical
equipment’, ‘Machinery’ and ‘Computers & electronics’ primarily rely on patents to
protect their products, while companies in ‘Food products’, ‘Telecommunications’ and
‘Pharmaceuticals’ use more trademarks than patents.

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