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PatSnap survey: Impacts of COVID-19 on global innovation

We surveyed IP, R&D and Innovation professionals from around the world to better understand how sentiments towards innovation have changed in light of COVID-19.

COVID-19 has impacted nearly all aspects of our lives, from the smallest details of our day, to a complete transformation of how we work and socialize. Despite all of these changes, the one thing that’s remained a constant is the ongoing need for innovation. In fact, innovation is one of the few economic activities that continues to gain traction at times of global crisis.

It should come as no surprise that innovators around the world have been busier than ever over the last few months. IP, R&D and Innovation professionals have responded to the realities of COVID-19 with unprecedented speed, with over 50 per cent of PatSnap’s survey respondents attributing their company’s recent innovation strategy shift to COVID-19.

To gain a better understanding of how COVID-19 has impacted global innovation, we asked innovators from East to West to share their thoughts on everything from patent filing activities, to key innovation obstacles, to their outlook on competitors. Here’s what they told us:

Global R&D and innovation is holding steady

When asked how their company’s patent filing activities changed since COVID-19, more than half of respondents said that filings either remained unchanged or had increased since COVID-19, which is in line with reports of COVID-19 acting as a catalyst for innovation.

Further to this, the majority of respondents ranked R&D a 4 or higher when asked where it lands as a corporate priority within their organizations (on a scale of 1 to 5). With many governments around the world increasing support and funding for COVID-19 initiatives, it’s no surprise that companies are prioritizing R&D as they position themselves for the future.

Patent intelligence remains a key driver of innovation

When asked to describe their company’s current views towards patent intelligence and research, nearly all respondents told us that they find these tools useful to some degree. As competition rises in a number of industries, patent research and access to innovation intelligence on the technology and innovation of competitors, will be key contributors to the survival and success of many businesses.

Globally, lack of funds is the primary obstacle to current IP activity

Respondents cited a lack of funds as the number one obstacle to their current IP activities, a sentiment shared by innovators in both the East and West.

The East is keeping competitors in close view

Eastern respondents indicated that they are increasingly more vigilant when it comes to their competitors, in contrast with western respondents who cited no change to how they track competitors. Paying increased attention to the competitive landscape aligns with Asia being on the fast track for innovation, positioning itself as the new global centre of economic development.

The East is more optimistic about the future of R&D investments

With all of the economic turbulence wrought by COVID-19, the East maintains a more positive outlook than the West regarding the future of R&D investments, believing that investments will continue to grow in the coming months.

Overall, global innovation is showing no signs of slowing down in response to COVID-19. Innovators around the world are either adapting to ensure the survival of their business or pivoting production to help the pandemic cause. As businesses continue to contend with funding and other obstacles to innovation, it will be interesting to see on what side of the world innovation will maintain a stronger foothold in the years to come.

Download the Innovation Sentiment Survey infographic.