Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Japan Claims Dominant Position in Fuel Cell Patents

Earlier this year, the Japanese Patent Office (JPO) published a report on fuel cell-related patent applications, and found that, in the current push to create a hydrogen-based society, Japan has taken a commanding lead in terms of patent applications filed.

How big? Well, according to the report, two out of three fuel cell patent applications (67%) from 1998 to 2004 were made by Japanese companies, totaling 32,209 patents. Compared to the US and Europe, Japan filed 2.5 times more patents than US applicants and 2.9 times more than European applicants.

More than 15 percent of the filings were made by three Japanese auto manufacturers, Nissan, Toyota and Honda, which filed 1,980, 1,546 and 1,526 applications, respectively.

Regarding the type of technology, most of the applications featured proton-exchange membrane fuel cells (81-83 percent), solid-oxide fuel cells (10-12 percent) and direct methanol fuel cells (5-7 percent).

Read "Japanese Automakers Round Out Top 3 in Fuel Cell Patent Application" (link)

2 Comentários:

Anonymous said...

There is a big difference between quantity and quality. Japanese patents tend to be narrow incremental improvements and the Japanese patent system limits the scope of patent coverage.

There can easily be a ten fold difference between the scope of a US patent and the scope of a Japanese patent.

In fact the same is true for most patents of large US companies. Typically as companies age they become much less innovative. They compensate by filing more patents of often very limited scope. Of course they almost never come up with the important stuff.

Anyway, getting back on the topic of Japanese fuel cell patents one really needs to analyze their patents to see if they are significant. I would be surprised if they are.


Ronald J. Riley,
President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
Washington, DC
Direct (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 9 pm EST.

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