The CEPGI tracks the granting of patents in the Clean Energy sector and monitors important technological breakthroughs in this field. Victor Cardona, Co-chair of the firm’s Cleantech Group stated, “Solar patents again led all others and is on a winning streak of over two years despite a drop in the first quarter of 2015. Patents in Hybrid/electric Vehicle technologies led in total number of increased patents and Wind also jumped, while Fuel Cells edged upwardly. Toyota led GM by two patents to again take the quarterly Clean Energy patent Crown. The US led all countries in granted US clean energy patents.”
The Clean Energy Patent Growth Index (CEPGI) provides an indication of the trend of innovative activity in the Clean Energy sector. Results from the second quarter of 2015 reveal the CEPGI to have a value of 899 granted U.S. patents, which is up 48 over the first quarter and down 41 compared to a year prior. The quarterly Clean Energy Patent crown again belonged to Toyota – the winner of the first quarter and annual winner for 2014 – by a mere two patents edging out General Motors. Solar patents led all other technology sectors in the second quarter for the ninth quarter in a row. Runner up Fuel Cells trailed by 60 patents. Quarterly results are illustrated below.
Solar patents (284) dropped 18 relative to the first quarter after a drop of about twice that the quarter before. The leading technology sector was down 22 versus a year prior. Patents in Fuel Cell (224) technologies jumped four patents after falling two the quarter before. Fuel Cell patents were 8 lower than the second quarter of 2014. Hybrid/Electric Vehicle patents (164) led Wind patents by 12 in the second quarter. Patents in the Wind sector jumped 32 in the second quarter while those in the HEV sector were 47 more than the first quarter to top the charts as far as increases are concerned. Relative to the second quarter of last year, Wind patents fell 14 while HEV patents were up 22.
Tidal patents were the same as the second quarter of 2014 but down 9 compared to the first quarter of this year. Biofuel/Biomass patents fell 11 compared to the first quarter and 24 compared to a year prior. Hydroelectric patents (4) were down four returning to the level of the fourth quarter of last year, and Geothermal patents (5) stayed flat compared to the first quarter and with the year before.
Toyota (41) retained the quarterly Clean Energy Patent crown, edging out GM by two patents, and jumping four patents over the first quarter. Toyota led the field in Hybrid/electric Vehicle patents (24) while also being granted Fuel Cell patents (16), and one Solar patent. GM had more Fuel Cell patents (32) than any other while also receiving seven Hybrid/Electric Vehicle patents. Honda took the second spot in Fuel Cell patents while totaling 27 granted clean energy patents. Hyundai tied Honda’s 27 patents with nine Fuel Cell and 17 HEV patents, along with one patent in Solar technologies.
Vestas had more Wind patents at 25 than any other and took fifth place overall in the second quarter. GE scored in multiple categories with 16 Wind patents, two HEV patents, along with two in Biomass/Biofuel technologies and two in Other renewable energy technologies. Ford had 21 granted clean energy patents with 18 in Hybrid/Electric Vehicle tech, two in Fuel Cells and one in Solar tech.
LG led all others in Solar patents granted in the second quarter with 15 while also having six granted in Fuel Cells. Siemens tied GE in Wind patents (16) and had one in Solar technologies. Samsung rounded out the top ten clean energy patent owners with Fuel Cell (10), Solar (4) and HEV (1) patents.
Among the top ten clean energy patent holders, Fuel Cell patents (92) dominated the other technologies while Solar patents (23) trailed. Of course, this is a contradiction to the total result of all clean energy patent holders, where there were more Solar patents than any other in the second quarter
Geographically, Japan led non-U.S. holders of U.S. Clean Energy patents and individual U.S. states, as depicted below in the geographic charts, to take the quarterly geographical Clean Energy patent crown with 173 granted clean energy patents. The Asian patent powerhouse dropped 12 patents compared to the first quarter and was down 10 versus the year before. Korea (95) took second place, up 11 over the first quarter and five over a year prior, while still trailing Japan by nearly 80 patents. California (93) slipped to third place and was down five versus a year prior, yet the western state did jump up seven over the first quarter. Germany (82) jumped nine over the first quarter of 2015 but was down 10 over the second quarter of last year.
Taking the fifth spot among US states and its international competitors was Michigan (71) which was up 16 in granted clean energy patents relative to both the quarter before and the second quarter of 2014. Denmark (40) nearly doubled its totals over the first quarter and was up 10 compared to a year prior. New York was third among US states and seventh overall with 33. The home of the Yankees was up 12 and two compared the previous period and the relevant quarter the year before. China followed with 18 patents, up seven from the first quarter and up eight from the second quarter of a year ago.
France, Taiwan and Texas took the final spots of the top ten, all with 16. France beat its total of the previous quarter by three but fell from that of the second quarter of last year by 8. Taiwan dropped 13 from the first quarter and a full 22 patents from a year prior. Other top finishers included Ohio (14), Massachusetts (12), Illinois (11), and Canada (11).
Of the Clean Energy patents granted in the first quarter, 377 were owned by US entities (up almost 50) while 522 were owned by those outside the US. The US gained some ground while a total of all foreign entities dropped one patent compared to the quarter before.