Two-thirds of graphene patents held by just three countries

China, US and South Korea hold 68% of all the graphene patents, writes Dr. John Lang, a Senior Lecturer at LCA Business School London.

China holds the most graphene patents with 2,024 or 30%. Next up is the US with 1,754 or 23% and lastly is South Korea with 1,160 or 15%.

Graphene has been described as a new wonder material with applications for batteries, renewables and many other uses. It is composed a single atom thick layer of carbon atoms arranged in a regular hexagonal pattern.

South Korea's Samsung looks to benefit the most from a large patent portfolio. The company ranked as one of the world's top ten patent holders, alongside International Business Machines (IBM), Sandisk 3D LLC, Rice University (William Marsh) and Tsinghua University. Samsung's dominance as a technological powerhouse with a wide range of businesses means that the company will be able to more quickly deploy any advances made by its researchers.

With a myriad of uses, Lang says it is no wonder companies and state-owned enterprises are walling off potential product and market spaces.

Lang says the countries are taking a scatter gun approach to patent filing.

This will give Chinese, U.S., and South Korean firms first mover advantages as product/market spaces open, to fully exploit those opportunities under the protective cloak of the patent system. But it will also allow them to legally defend those products and markets, foreclosing options for competitors, and have a higher degree of early life cycle monopolization over value chains of products and services created in the nascent Graphene ecosystems. And when those nascent ecosystems begin to bring new products to markets, those in at this stage will potentially benefit the most by setting the industry standards, and becoming keystone firms for future roadmaps.

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Creative Commons image of a graphene clean room by University of Exeter. Hat tip Visual Capitalist