Britain’s leading companies have failed to make a list of the top 100 global innovative businesses based on patent filings.
Cutting Edge UK firms such as ARM Holdings, BAE Systems and Jaguar Land Rover were all absent from the Thomson Reuters Top 100 Global Innovators report.
The report featured 45 American companies, including Apple, Google and Oracle; 28 Japanese, including Sony and Panasonic; and 12 French, including Alcatel Lucent and Thales.
The list, which didn’t include any UK businesses last year either, is based on the number of patents applied for, granted and applied to global markets.
There were no Chinese companies on the list either, despite being the home of technology firms like Huawei and Lenovo.
France’s performance is the strongest of any European country and can be attributed to the nation's R&D investment which, at almost $50 billion (£31 billion), is more than $10 billion (£6.34 billion) greater than in the UK.
“The UK government does not incent innovation like France and other nations, which impacts its ability to attract and retain large, innovative organisations,” said Thomson Reuters.
The report suggests that a lack of R&D investment in the UK is one of the primary reasons that no UK businesses managed to break onto the list, pointing to the $279 billion (£173.93 billion) spent by US businesses compared to only $24.1 billion (£15.02 billion) in the UK.
It says the UK’s failure “is underscored by the low R&D investment as a percentage of GDP in that region. The UK was the lowest of the US, Japan and France in R&D spend through 2010”.
The report adds: “The trend is also reflective of the evolution of the UK economy away from manufacturing and toward a more service-sector orientation, with a heavy reliance on financial businesses.”
The UK’s inability to capitalise on scientific breakthroughs was highlighted last year when it was revealed that UK organisations only held 54 graphene patents compared to China’s 2,204 and America’s 1,754, despite the fact that the next generation material, which could one day succeed silicon, was first discovered at the University of Manchester.
The report acknowledged recent UK legislation such as Patent Box, which cuts corporation tax on income generated from patents and other innovations. However, it won’t be fully introduced until 2017 and the report says: “Whether or not that step will have a significant impact on overall patent activity in the UK will take several years to find out.”
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