Innovation levels, as measured by patent volume, shifted across 12 major technology areas from 2009 to 2010, according to the second annual analysis of world patent activity published by the IP Solutions business of Thomson Reuters. The 2010 Innovation Report: Twelve Key Technology Areas and Their States of Innovation tracks patent activity in key technology areas using the Thomson Reuters Derwent World Patents Index® (DWPISM) database, the world’s most trusted source of patent information.

Key findings between 2009 and 2010 innovation data include:

• Aerospace technology area blasts into a new orbit: In addition to increasing overall activity by 25% year over year, the largest aerospace subsector increase from 2009 to 2010 occurred in the field of Space Vehicles and Satellite Technology, which jumped up 108%. The three companies in this area were Japanese manufacturer Sharp, followed by Korean manufacturers LG and Samsung.

• Semiconductor innovation short circuits: The Semiconductor technology area saw the largest drop in innovation activity across the 12 areas tracked, falling 9% last year. The drop was driven by subsector declines in Integrated Circuits; Discrete Devices; and Memories, Film & Hybrid Circuits. The one Semiconductor subsector showing growth in 2010 was Materials and Processes. The innovators with the most patent activity in this subsector were Korean manufacturers Samsung and Hynix Semiconductor, followed by Japan’s Toshiba.

• Computers & Peripherals tops the list of the most innovative technology areas with the highest volume of patent activity for second consecutive year, despite an overall decline from 2009: The Computers & Peripherals technology area published 212,622 unique inventions in 2010, earning it the top slot among the 12 areas in the analysis. However, this is a 6% decline from the level seen in 2009.

The data in this report was compiled using the Thomson Reuters DWPI database, aggregating granted patents and published applications (examined and unexamined) from January 1 through December 3, 2010. The study tracks unique inventions within the categories of Aerospace, Agrochemicals & Agriculture, Automotive, Computers & Peripherals, Cosmetics, Domestic Appliances, Food, Tobacco & Fermentation, Medical Devices, Petroleum & Chemical Engineering, Pharmaceuticals, Semiconductors, and Telecommunications.

To view the full 2010 Innovation Report: Twelve Key Technology Areas and Their States of Innovation, go to