Clean Energy Patent Index

25 March 2010

Granted US patents in the clean energy belonging to relevant sub-components, viz., solar, wind, hybrid / electric , fuel cells etc. are being routinely monitored since 2002 by Clean Group patent professionals of a renowned US patent law firm, Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti P.C. and the developmental trends as indices are being published quarterly on their website.

The results of the above study published and issued by the above group in 2009 is summarised below.

The figure 1 below shows that U.S. patents for clean-energy technologies in 2009 were at an all time high with 200 more patents than 2008 at1125. Further, fuel cells, wind, and biomass / biofuel energy patents were also at all time highs in 2009 as shown in Figure 2. The top ranking countries holding these patents are US, Japan, Germany, Canada and the South Korea, where US holds as much as 49% share of all these patents alone. Japan comes second at 28% and Germany 8%.

Figure 1

Figure 2

The top clean energy patent holders in 2009 were dominated by the automotive sector, with 5 spots out of top ten. Among these Honda have a clear lead with GM coming to the second position; Toyota and Nissan occupy the next positions. All these companies hold 20 or more patents each, whereas the remaining companies in 'top ten' also had 10 or less fuel cells patents. Among non-auto companies, Samsung, Panasonic and Toshiba are the prominent gainers. In this intense race, the long time fuel cells patents holders, UTC Power Corp, Plug Power and Ballard seem to be losing out now.

The sector-wise analysis revealed the following facts with regard to country share:

  • In fuels cells patents, US has 50%, Japan 39% and Germany 8%
  • In hybrid electric vehicles, Japan has 49% , US 39%, South Korea 5%, Germany 3%
  • In solar energy, US has 49%, Japan 20% and Germany 8%
  • In wind energy patents, US has 47%, Germany 20%, Denmark 7% and Japan 7%

The full report may be downloaded from the following link.