Japanese companies rise to the top of IEEE Spectrum’s Patent Power 2010 rankings. Based on data from 2009, out of the 323 leading organizations in the scorecards, 65 (20 percent) are Japanese. This percentage is markedly higher than in the 2007 scorecards, in which 45 out of 319 companies (14 percent) were Japanese.
The increasing prominence of Japanese companies is particularly clear in the electronics industry. Out of the top 10 companies in the Electronics scorecard, 7 are Japanese, headed by Hitachi, Sony, and Casio. In comparison, 5 out of the top 10 electronics companies in 2007 were Japanese. Ditto for the automotive industry, where 7 of the top 10 companies in the Automotive and Parts scorecard are Japanese, compared to five in 2007. This includes 4 of the top 5 automotive companies’”Honda, Toyota, Denso, and Nissan. Honda is the big mover, improving from sixth place in 2007 to top position in 2009.
If Japanese companies are the big winners in the 2009 scorecards, it is largely U.S. companies that are making way for them. The percentage of U.S. organizations in the scorecards fell from 63 percent (202 out of 319) in 2007, to 54 percent (173 out of 323) in 2009. Over the same period, the percentage of European organizations remained steady, increasing slightly from 15 percent in 2007 to 16 percent in 2009.