The number of patent applications relating to electromobility has increased significantly in Germany. In 2019, the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA) and the European Patent Office (EPA) published 660 patent applications with effect for Germany that relate directly to vehicles with electric drives. That is 42 percent more than in 2017.
Also for the power supply of electric vehicles registered the DPMA and the EPO a strong increase: in battery technology, the number of published registrations was 26 percent, at 2684, 41 percent higher than in 2017, and 1848 for fuel cells, at 848.
"Electromobility has obviously grown significantly in importance among manufacturers in recent years," DPMA President Cornelia Rudloff-Schäffer interprets the numbers. Patent applications are usually published 18 months after filing; it takes a year and a half for them to appear as published in the statistics.
Consequence of the exhaust gas scandal?
Rudloff-Schäffer suspects that after the exhaust gas scandal in 2015, automotive companies had shifted development resources from the combustion engine to the new drive technologies. The number of registrations for the internal combustion engine was 13 percent lower last year than in 2017.
The longer-term trend is also towards electronics: in the areas of electric drive and battery technology, more than three times as many patent applications were published in 2019 as ten years ago. Most manufacturers currently rely even more on batteries than on fuel cells. Registrations for the internal combustion engine are also declining slightly in the long term.
Last year, 47.4 percent of all patent applications for electric drives came from Germany, from Japan 17 percent, the USA 13.6 percent, China 4.7 percent and South Korea 3.6 percent. Audi was in the lead among manufacturers. This was followed by Toyota, Ford, BMW and Bosch. In battery technology, Germany received 29.8 percent of all registrations, Japan 21.4 percent, South Korea 20.2. The company ranking is led by LG Chem, ahead of Bosch and BMW. Japan was the leader in the fuel cell technology sector with 37.9 percent, ahead of Germany with 29.8 percent. Toyota leads the manufacturers, followed by Audi and Bosch.
Patent applications for autonomous driving and driver assistants have also risen steeply in the past ten years, the patent offices report: in 2010 there were still 1180 patent applications with effect for Germany, in 2019 the number was 4265. 43 percent of them came from Germany, above all in Germany from Bosch, BMW and Daimler. The USA followed in second place with 20.1 percent of registrations; Ford and GM have the largest share in this.
The DPMA admits that there is neither a generally applicable definition nor a special technology class for the assignment of patent documents to autonomous driving. A sharp demarcation from other technical areas is therefore not possible.
. (tagsToTranslate) DPMA (t) electric car (t) electromobility (t) driver assistance systems (t) patents (t) autonomous driving