A recent survey of patents related to fuel cell technology-related patents from 1980 up until the end of May 2011 ranks GM at number one, with Japanese car makers Honda and Toyota in positions 2 and 5 respectively.
The survey considered both the quantity and quality of the patents, which is why Toyota did not rank higher than 4 even though they produced the most patents in this period. 2007 was a particular productive year for Toyota in this regard with 192 fuel cell tech patents registered.
This is a great result for Honda in particular, since they only started focusing on fuel cell research in the 2000s. Notable Honda patents include, “Superior hydrogen leak safety management for fuel cells” and “Easy-assemble fuel cells”. As you can see from the results, Honda was only just edged out by GM, and was well ahead of the third-placed US Department of Energy.
The top five results in detail are:
|Rank||Company||Total Patent Points||Number of Patents||Highest Score for Individual Patent|
|1||General Motors||2,522.2 points||799||77.1 points|
|2||Honda||2,474.0 points||770||90.6 points|
|3||US DoE||1,898.8 points||377||89.6 points|
|4||Toyota||1,790.5 points||810||78.9 points|
|5||Panasonic||1,782.3 points||402||83.2 points|
As you can see, each patent was scored and the number of points generated by all patents totaled up to give the Total Patent Points. Thus Honda was able to achieve a very close second place with 2,474 points, despite the fact that Toyota, down in 4th place, registered 40 more patents.
Of course, there is more to developing new technology than simply winning a patent ranking race. The real question is how these companies translate their innovation into mass-produced products that shape the market. With the commercialization of fuel-cell technology in vehicles very much in its infancy, the way this race will play out is still far from clear.
Source: Patent Result (Japanese-language)leave a response, trackback from your own site