For more than ten years, Heslin Rothenberg’s Clean Energy Patent Growth Index has been reliably tracking green technology patent grants. The CEPGI consistently provides interesting data, which often put solid numbers behind the trends those of us in this field see, hear anecdotally, or just intuitively know.
The Second Quarter 2012 Results are a good example of this: the report reveals the highest single quarter total of granted green patents since the CEPGI started back in 2002, with 786 patents in Q2 2012. This number is up from 694 granted patents in the prior quarter, and up 249 from Q2 2011.
Fuel cell patents topped the index, with 264 patents (up 32 from Q1 2012 and up 59 year over year). The second highest technology sector is solar, which saw 211 patents granted (up 23 from Q1 2012 and up 89 year over year).
There were 187 wind patents granted (up 30 from Q1 2012 and up 74 year over year). The remaining technology sectors tracked included hybrid/electric vehicles (65 patents), biomass/biofuels (36 patents), and hydroelectric (6 patents).
Toyota was the top green patent assignee with 46 patents. Of those, 32 were fuel cell patents, and 14 were directed to hybrid/electric vehicle technology. GE took second place with 43 patents, the vast majority of which were wind power technologies. Third place went to GM. The rest of the top ten consisted of Honda, Samsung, Vestas, Mitsubishi, Siemens, Sanyo and Ford.
With regard to geographic breakdowns, Japan led non-US green patentees with 158 patents, and California was in second place with 95 patents. The third place spot went to Germany (62 patents) with New York (54 patents) and Michigan (52 patents) rounding out the top five. Other countries and states in the top ten included Korea, Denmark, Colorado, Taiwan, France, Spain and Texas.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org