Fresh impetus for renewable energy innovation

World Intellectual Property Day 2024: Analysis of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office shows increase of a fifth in published patent applications concerning solar technology, wind power and the like – Innovative activity relating to battery technology still highly dynamic – DPMA President: Encouraging development in view of the enormous challenge of energy supply

Press release of 26 April 2024

After years of stagnation, the innovative activity concerning renewable energy has seen a considerable increase. Last year, 1,289 patent applications concerning solar technology, wind power and other regenerative energy technologies were published, i.e. 18.6% more than in the previous year. With a 32.7% increase in applications, there was a particularly significant rise for solar technology. This field of technology had 597 applications, outperforming wind power (540, +2.3%). There were also considerable increases in applications concerning hydropower and the generation of energy from waves and tides and concerning geothermal energy, biogas and other energy sources. Yet the absolute application numbers in these two fields were considerably lower than those of solar technology and wind power. What is of vital importance to the most extensive possible use of renewable energy is the development of high-capacity storage systems such as batteries. Accordingly, there is much innovative dynamism in this area: Last year, 6,192 patent applications were published in this field, almost a third more than in the previous year (+30.8%) - and almost three times as many patent applications as ten years ago were published with respect to battery Technology (see pdf-Datei infographics).

The data are part of an analysis carried out by the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) on the occasion of World Intellectual Property Day. Our analysis considers published patent applications with effect in Germany at the DPMA and EPO. Patent applications are published after 18 months. Accordingly, the analysis does not include inventions newly filed in 2023. An overview of the analysis is available in our pdf-Datei infographics.

Grafik Patentanmeldungen zu Batterien

Patentanmeldungen zu Batterien

World IP Day occurs on April 26th. The World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva has chosen “Building our common future with innovation and creativity” as this year’s theme, with a view to bringing the issue of sustainability into focus. „The protection of intellectual property creates incentives for innovation and thus makes an important contribution to solving social problems“ DPMA President Eva Schewior said. “In light of the enormous challenge of ensuring a reliable and sustainable energy supply, it is encouraging that the innovative activity concerning renewably energy has grown again. The strong innovative dynamism seen in battery technology is helping us to make even better use of solar and wind energy in the future.”

Germany and China on a par in solar technology

An important reason for the considerable increase in application numbers concerning renewable energy is the strong innovative dynamism in China – especially in solar technology. In this area, there was a year-on-year increase in applications from China from 56 to 117 (+108.9%) that allowed China to get on a par with Germany. Applications from Germany also rose considerably, albeit to a much lesser extent (+11.4%). China increased its share in total applications from 12.4% to 19.5%, while the share of Germany fell from 23.3% to 19.5%. Last year, the two leaders in solar technology were followed by the United States, France and Japan.

In the second major area, namely wind generators, Denmark once again took first place, with 197 applications (-9.6%). With 105 applications and a slight increase of 2.9%, Germany came in second. As with solar technology, the share of Germany in total applications was thus 19.5%. Germany was followed by Spain (68, +6.3%) and the United States (31, -13.9%). With 28 applications, China came in fifth. Even though absolute numbers of applications from China were still low, there was also a great dynamism with regard to wind generators (+75%).

As regards solar technology, the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission led the ranking of applicants with 24 applications. With respect to wind generators, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy A/S from Denmark led the ranking with 79 applications.

China and the Republic of Korea outpace the competition in battery technology

In the international ranking, two Asian countries with high rates of increase in battery technology applications further outpaced the competition: First place in 2023 went to the Republic of Korea with 1,638 applications (+40.5%), followed by China (1,313, +78.8%). This means that almost half (47.6%) of all patent applications published with respect to battery technology last year came from these two countries. The growth in applications from Germany, which was third, lagged far behind (1,091, +15.6%). Japan (1,043, +8.4%) and the United States (637, +22.4%) were fourth and fifth, respectively.

Accordingly, Korean and Chinese companies also led the ranking of applicants: LG Energy Solution, Ltd. (1,011 applications) and Samsung SDI Co., Ltd. (208), both from the Republic of Korea, took first and third places, respectively. Second place went to the Chinese company Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited (565), followed by Volkswagen AG (203) and the Japanese company Panasonic Intellectual Property Management Co., Ltd. (198).

“The innovation dynamics in China are once again impressive. German applicants play a leading role in their home market for renewable energies," said DPMA President Schewior. "Battery technology plays a key role in the transformation of our energy supply - especially for electromobility. As an industrial nation, Germany should make sure that we keep pace with the leading countries in terms of innovative strength.”

The German Patent and Trade Mark Office

Inventiveness and creativity need effective protection. The DPMA is the German centre of expertise for all intellectual property rights – patents, utility models, trade marks and designs. As the largest national patent office in Europe and the fifth largest national patent office in the world, our office stands for the future of Germany as a country of inventors in a globalised economy. Its staff of just under 2,800 at three locations – Munich, Jena and Berlin – provide services to inventors and companies. They implement federal innovation strategies and develop the national, European and international protection systems.

Bilder: DPMA

Last updated: 14 May 2024