Victor Cardona, Co-chair of the firm’s Cleantech Group stated,
Solar patents were barely edged out by Fuel Cell patents in the 1st quarter potentially foreshadowing a change this year in clean energy patent leadership as these technology sectors trend in opposite directions. GM took the quarterly Clean Energy patent Crown for the first time since the 1st quarter of 2011. The US led all countries with California leading second place Michigan which topped New York.
Japan led Germany which edged out Korea.
Fuel Cell patents edged Solar patents by one in the first quarter of 2013, but fell 28 to 218 relative to the fourth quarter of last year.
This one patent difference is the smallest differential on record and suggests that Solar patents are poised to pass Fuel Cell patents. This difference further suggests that investments in Solar technology R&D are reaching a pinnacle despite the slew of bankruptcies and consolidations in the Solar industry. Wind patents jumped 15 to 155 but still trailed Solar patents (217) which fell 24 compared to the fourth quarter of 2012. Since the start of 2012 a once slim gap between Solar and Wind patent grants has opened up into a more than 50 patent gulf. As recently as Q4 2011 had these two technologies tied.
Hybrid-Electric Vehicle patents led the rest of the field with 81, up 3 from the fourth quarter of 2012.
Tidal patents were up 3 to 19 while Biofuel/Biomass patents dropped 7mrelative to the fourth quarter to 48. Hydroelectric patents remained at 7. Geothermal patents were up one compared to the fourth quarter of 2012 resulting in 8 granted patents in the first quarter. Other Alternative Energy patents dropped 6 to 7.
GM, driven by its Fuel Cell (34) and Hybrid/Electric Vehicle patents (8), took the quarterly crown from 2012 annual winner Toyota. GM also topped all others in Fuel Cells. Toyota trailed GM by nine and had 25 Fuel Cell patents, 7 HEV patents, and 1 Biofuel/Biomass patent.
Twenty-one Wind patents blew GE into third place along with 6 Solar patents, 1 Fuel Cell, 1 HEV and 1 Other patent. Mitsubishi also was led by its Wind patents (18) followed by HEV and solar, both at 3.
Honda and Samsung tied at 22 granted Clean Energy patents with Honda receiving patents in Fuel Cells (15), HEV(5), Solar (1) and Biomass/Biofuels (1). Samsung had 16 Fuel Cell and 6 Solar patents tieing GE and Sunpower for the quarterly lead in Solar patents.
Vestas tied Mitsubishi in Wind patents behind GE at 18 patents with Wind being the only technology in which it was granted Clean Energy patents. Ford had 14 HEV patents leading all others in this category along with a single Solar patent. More Wind patents were granted to Repower (12) while Panasonic had 10 Fuel Cell patents and one Solar patent. Hyundai followed in 10th place with 4 Fuel Cell and 7 HEV patents granted.
Geographically, Japan again led non-U.S. holders of U.S. Clean Energy patents and individual U.S. states with 151, which was a decrease of 26 compared to the fourth quarter and was up one patent over the same quarter a year before, to again claim the quarterly geographical Clean Energy patent crown. California took second place with 82 Clean Energy patents, which was 16 less than the fourth quarter and up 12 over the first quarter of 2012. Germany (72) jumped 14 patents compared to the fourth quarter and took third place – followed by Michigan (68) which jumped 17 patents due to GM and Ford’s contributions described above.
Korea edged New York by three and had 43 Clean Energy patents in the first quarter, down 15 compared to the fourth quarter while New York dropped 14. Taiwan (25) edged Texas (22) and Massachusetts (16) topped Colorado (14). Connecticut, Canada and France all had 12 granted Clean Energy patents in the first quarter. New Jersey and China tied with 10 such patents.
More detailed information regarding the CEPGI, including an analysis of each of the technology sectors and geographic breakdowns, is available at www.cleanenergypatentgrowthindex.com. Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti P.C. is dedicated exclusively to representing clients in the protection and commercialization of intellectual property, both domestic and foreign, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. The firm has gained national recognition in the area of Intellectual Property Law and was listed among the “Top Patent Firms” and “Top Trademark Firms” in Intellectual Property Law Today.
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