Clean Energy Patent Growth Index Shows Big Gains in Solar and Wind


The Clean Energy Patent Growth Index (CEPGI) recently published its Q1 2012 Results.

Although fuel cells are still in the top spot with 232 patents, they were down 18 relative to the first quarter of last year. The report shows large year on year gains for solar patents, up 50 at 188, and wind, which totaled 157 patents, up 71 from Q1 2011.

There were 62 hybrid/electric vehicle (HEV) patents granted, a gain of 24 over last year, and biomass/biofuel patents more than doubled from Q1 2011 to 36.

As to assignees, Toyota took the top spot with 49 patents, mostly for fuel cells and some HEV patents. GE was in second place with 33 patents, the vast majority of which were for wind technology.

Third place went to Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas with 30 patents, and GM was in fourth place with 28 patents, almost all for fuel cell technology. Other patentees in the top ten were Samsung, Honda, Siemens, Ford, Mitsubishi and Hyundai.

The CEPGI reports also break out patent data by geography, looking at U.S. states and other countries.

In Q1 2012, Japan led non-U.S. green patentees with 150 patents, and California took second place with 70 patents. Other jurisdictions holding a lot of green patents included Germany (51), Michigan (49), New York (47), Korea (45), and Denmark (32).

Always an interesting read, the CEPGI quarterly reports provide valuable snapshots of green patenting activity and a window into green innovation.

Eric Lane is a patent attorney at McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP in San Diego and the author of Green Patent Blog. Mr. Lane can be reached at

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

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