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Are Patents the Measure of Innovation?

Maybe not, since the number of patents filed by a company doesn't give a full picture of its creative prowess. But analyzing citations produces some interesting of patents filed by a company results

How do you measure a company's ability to innovate? One metric that might seem logical, given their traditional association with invention, would be patents—the number of them that a company holds.

But patents are a tough metric to use for innovation. Adding up the number of patent holdings, for a variety of reasons, can be a flawed way to get a good picture of a company's innovation prowess. While they're helpful indicators in some industries, such as chemicals or pharmaceuticals, they don't offer a broad enough assessment of the pioneering business processes or unconventional strategies in less product-focused industries, such as retail.