The US Patent and Trademark Office granted a record 798 clean energy patents in the third quarter of 2012, which saw Toyota receive the highest number of clean energy patents for the third consecutive quarter.
The total clean energy patents granted in Q3 was up 199 over the third quarter of 2011, and is the highest quarter on record since the Cleantech Group at Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti began tracking the Clean Energy Patent Growth Index (CEPGI).
The CEPGI (see chart) tracks US patents for the following sectors: solar, wind, hybrid/electric vehicles, fuel cells, hydroelectric, tidal/wave, geothermal, biomass/biofuels and other clean renewable energy.
Toyota’s 71 patents in Q3 — up 25 compared to the second quarter — were primarily in fuel cells at 45 (up 13) with an assist from hybrid/electric vehicle patents at 25, and one solar patent.
GE trailed Toyota by 15 patents for the third quarter of 2012 with 50 wind patents, five solar patents and one patent in each of the following: hybrid/electric vehicles, fuel cells and other clean energy. GM took the third place spot for the second consecutive quarter primarily with fuel cells (29) followed by hybrid/electric vehicles (6).
Honda trailed GM with 31 fuel cell patents and one hybrid/electric vehicle patent. Samsung followed with 20 fuel cell patents and five solar patents. Samsung replaced Vestas Wind Systems in fifth place — which fell out of the quarterly top 10 — after receiving 20 fuel cell patents and five solar patents, followed by Mitsubishi with 19 wind, two hybrid/electric vehicle and one solar patent.
Siemens received 10 wind patents, down one from Q2, and two fuel cell patents. Hyundai had seven patents each in fuel cells and hybrid/electric vehicles for a total of 12 with two overlapping these technologies. Panasonic continued to add to its fuel cell patents (9) and also had two in solar. Ford rounded out the top 10 with five fuel cell and six hybrid/electric vehicle patents.
Overall in 2012 Q3, solar patents, at 222, continued to gain but still trailed fuel cell patents at 282, which lead all clean energy sectors and were up 36 over the same quarter in 2011.
Solar patents were up 11 over the previous quarter and up 84 over the third quarter of 2011, while wind patents (170), were down 17 patents compared to Q2 and up 57 patents relative to the same period in 2011. Hybrid/Electric Vehicle patents at 81 rose 16 patents compared to the second quarter and were up 23 compared to the third quarter of 2011. Biomass/biofuel patents (39) were down 10 compared to the second quarter of 2012 and were up 13 relative to 2011 Q3.