There is still scope for emerging organisations to establish and maintain leading positions but as the patent space crowds out, you will need to be quick to be the first to file if you want to gain broad claims for your innovative Electric Vehicle (EV) technology. An EV Intellectual Property (IP) Report by SnapPat for 2018 predicts that there will be an expected 7,500 patent applications in 2018 – rising to 8,500 in 2020.
Nearly two thirds of EV patent families have a first-filing in the USA (44%) or China (19%). Based on this activity, China and USA could strategically be key geographic locations for organisations to establish their patent footprint. Excluding filings with the European Patent Office (9.3%), the UK is Europe’s top destination for EV patenting with 2.3% of initial patent filings. Luxembourg and Ireland have the highest relative specialisation in EV innovation globally, meaning that these could be important locations for bargain partnerships in licensing, open innovation and other opportunities not reflected in patent data. The top five EV patenting companies include: Hyundai, Toyota, Kia Motors, Hitachi and General Motors. Activity has both grown and decreased amongst top applicants in recent years, suggesting that there is still scope for emerging organisations to establish and maintain leading positions. Experienced automotive companies are remaining diverse in their patenting activity while electronics companies tend to focus on fuel cells, batteries and power transfer technologies. Top technology areas for EV related patents: Electric propulsion with power supplied within the vehicle (14.92%) Manufacturing of secondary cells (9.52%) Arrangements for charging/ depolarising batteries (9.15%) Arrangement of diverse prime movers for propulsion (7.38%) Conjoint control of different vehicle sub-units (6.93%) Looking specifically at unexpected key players in EV innovation, Robert Bosch, Samsung and Sony hold nearly 900 relevant patents between them, meaning that each of these companies hold relevant intangible assets that put them in a strong position to enter the EV market in future.