As the world continues to integrate the globe becomes more interconnected with complex supply chain systems. This becomes even more important now that countries are becoming evermore specialized in one industry or another. An interesting development where countries are specializing is in the arena of patents.

A new study by David Pendlebury and Bob Stembridge from Thomson Reuters looks into patents and scientific developments from all over the world at a macro level and found some very interesting results. They found that many less developed countries hold many patents in natural resources and things that are intrinsically specific to their country. Many countries in South America have become some of the largest exporters of raw materials. The supply chain is critical in making this possible and bringing less developed countries onto the global stage. Those with large amounts of natural resources have actually been able to leverage the wealth they gain and parlay their success into activities that more developed nations specialize in.

Pendlebury states, “A nation develops by first relying on its natural resources and then transitioning into a knowledge based economy.” This includes the biomedical industry as well as high technology industries. One of the best examples of this is China, who has increased five spots in two years in the Economist Global Innovation Index. China has been able to use its vast land and natural resources to lift them to prominence in other industries that are usually seen in well developed economies with an abundance of capital resources.

Overall, the majority of countries seem to be ramping up their patent production meaning that more and more are harnessing the power of innovation. While it may look different from country to country the emergence of patents world wide encourages innovation and specialization. This is sure to place an even greater importance on the global supply chain as countries continue to globalize.

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