Innography Report Pegs, Tesla as Top Innovative Firms


Publish Date:
May 14, 2017
  • Brachmann, Steve
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Business magazine publication Forbes recently released its list of the world’s most innovative companies, basing its selections on a collection of financial markers including a company’s difference between market cap and net present value of cash flows from existing businesses, a figure which Forbes says is indicative of a company’s “innovation premium.” The top ten companies on the list include a group of pharmaceutical firms including Regeneron (NASDAQ:REGN), Incyte (NASDAQ:INCY), Alexion (NASDAQ:ALXN), Vertex (NASDAQ:VRTX) and BioMarin (NASDAQ:BMRN). Other companies include cloud computing company (NYSE:CRM), sports apparel maker Under Armour (NYSE:UAA), energy drink maker Monster Beverage (NASDAQ:MNST) and consumer goods multinational Unilever (NYSE:UN). The top spot in Forbes list of the world’s most innovative companies is held this year by automobile and energy developer Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA).

This list of top innovators put together by Forbes has been further refined by intellectual property analytics firm Innography to take a more objective, data-based approach in determining the world’s most innovative firms. In a report titled How Innovative Are They?, Innography takes the top five companies on Forbes’ list (Tesla,, Regeneron, Incyte and Alexion, respectively) and measured them against six metrics: number of inventions; number of inventors; inventor locations; patents per inventor; and a metric Innography refers to as PatentStrength, a measure of both patent quality and filing activity.

Innography’s PatentStrength metric, based on concepts raised in a July 2003 academic paper authored by Mark Lemley and others, indicates that Tesla has a very strong patent portfolio compared to other top innovation firms. In terms of overall PatentStrength measures, Tesla’s 39 percent score is third behind (45 percent) and Alexion (41 percent). Since 2011, both Tesla and are tied for the lead with a 30 percent score in portfolio quality from that year on. PatentStrength scores are positively impacted by forward citations, oppositions and litigation activity. As far as Tesla’s patenting activities are concerned, Innography concludes that “the metrics do show that as a younger organization with a fairly new portfolio, Tesla’s staying power looks very promising for the future.” If only the company could meet its own sales forecasts, Tesla might actually become a successful business instead of an entity with a market cap inflated by government subsidy.

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