Toyota again applied for more U.S. cleantech patents than any other corporation during the third fiscal quarter of 2012—repeating its exceptional performance during the first eight months of the year, according to an index published by a U.S. law firm that specializes in intellectual property.
Published since 2002 by the Cleantech Group of Albany, New York-based Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti P.C., the Clean Energy Patent Growth Index (CEPGI) provides an overview of leading-edge green innovation—and investments— in America.
The granting of a patent by the United States Patent and Trademark (PTO) Office indicates not only that a company (or individual)has designed an advanced and original work product or process, but that the exclusive innovation being submitted for consideration has the perceived value to justify the time and expense of the PTO application. The CEPGI tracks U.S. patents for the following sub-components: solar, wind, hybrid/electric vehicles, fuel cells, hydroelectric, tidal/wave, geothermal, biomass/biofuels and other clean renewable energy.
Results from 3Q 2012 reveal that 798 U.S. patents were granted— exceeding the second-quarter total of 786, to become the most prolific quarter since tracking of the CEPGI began. What’s more, patents for the third quarter of 2012 are up 199 over those granted during the third quarter of 2011.
Specifically, the leaders in patent procurement are as follows:
- Toyota: Following a three-year gap, Toyota took the quarterly clean energy patent crown for the third consecutive quarter with 71 patents— up 25, compared to the second quarter. Toyota’s patents were again primarily in fuel cells, at 45 (up 13); with an assist from 25 hybrid/electric vehicle patents; and one solar patent.
- General Electric: GE trailed Toyota by 15 patents for the third quarter, with 50 wind patents; five, solar; and one patent in the combined categories of hybrid/electric vehicles, fuel cells and other clean energy.
- General Motors (News - Alert): GM took third place spot for the second consecutive quarter, primarily based on its number of fuel cell patents (29); as well as six patents in the hybrid /electric vehicle category.
- Honda (News - Alert): Compared to its Detroit rival, Honda earned two more fuel cell patents (31), but five fewer in the hybrid/electric vehicle designation (one).
- Samsung (News - Alert): The South Korean company garnered 20 fuel cell patents and five solar patents, replacing Vestas Wind Systems, which fell out of the quarterly top ten.
- Mitsubishi (News - Alert): The Japanese conglomerate racked up 19 Wind patents; two in the hybrid/electric vehicle category; and one solar patent.
- Siemens (News - Alert): The German innovator was awarded 10 wind patents and two fuel cell patents.
- Hyundai: This quarter, the South Korean automaker earned seven patents each in fuel cells and hybrid/electric vehicles for a total of 12 with two overlapping these technologies.
- Panasonic: Building a competitive edge in a new segment, Panasonic continued to add to its fuel cell patents (9); and also received two solar patents.
- Ford: Rounding out the top ten, Ford ended the third quarter with five fuel cell and six hybrid/electric vehicle patents.
Overall, solar patents continued to gain (at 222), but still trailed fuel cell patents (282). Wind patents (170) were down 17 compared to the second quarter and up 57 patents relative to the same period last year. At 81, hybrid/electric vehicle patents rose 16, compared to the second quarter; and were up 23, compared to the third quarter of 2011. Biomass/biofuel patents (39) were down 10 compared to the second quarter of this year; and were up 13 relative to the third quarter of 2011. Japan again led non-U.S. holders of U.S. clean energy patents and individual U.S. states with 212—up 54 over the second quarter, and up 86 over the same quarter a year ago. California took second place for the fourth consecutive quarter with 82 clean energy patents; and New York moved into a third-place finish with 63 cleantech patents; followed by Germany with 56.
Edited by Jamie Epstein