The United States Patent and Trademark Office granted some 271 clean energy patents during the third quarter of 2009, which is the highest amount of approved patents in a single quarter, according to the latest Clean Energy Patent Growth Index (CEPGI) Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti.
The index offers some indication on the level of innovation in the clean energy sector, at a time when it is being bolstered by unprecedented government and private investor dollars.
What’s the most innovative sector in cleantech these days? Hands down fuel cells and energy storage devices, which garnered a total of 157 patent approvals over the third quarter. Far behind, taking second and third place, were wind and solar technologies, which accounted for 35 and 33 patents. Tidal wave technology had nine patents approved. For a complete breakdown, see chart above.
The CEPG Index clearly indicates a dominance by foreign companies and in particular Japanese ones. One reason for that is that most of the approved patents are for fuel cells and energy storage devices, a sector that’s traditionally been a forte of Japanese and Asian companies.
As a result Japanese automobile makers Toyota and Nissan took the first two spots, with 15 and 14 patents approved respectively. General Motors tied with Nissan, also with 14 patents approved. Japan’s Honda and Samsung of South Korea, took third place with 12 patents approved. In all Japan leads the index with75 patents, or nearly 28 percent of all clean energy patents approved by the U.S. Patent Office in quarter three.
Chart: Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti