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Li-ion patent applications grow 300% over last decade – report

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Li-ion patent applications have grown by approximately 300% since 2010, mirroring the growth in the Li-ion market. 

A recent report published by UK-based IDTechEx reveals that the growth in patent applications has occurred across various technology groups, including NMC/NCA and Li-Mn-rich cathodes, silicon anodes, electrolytes and electrolyte additives, separators and nanocarbon use. 

“Significant growth in the number of applications per year was seen particularly between 2010-2015 and while all areas covered have seen growth since 2010, the number of patents regarding the use of nanocarbon in Li-ion have seen the most substantial growth over the past 10 years, in line with the growing hype and recent utilization of graphene and carbon nanotubes in Li-ion batteries,” the report reads.

(Graph courtesy of IDTechEx).

According to the market researcher, geographically, Chinese assignees have been particularly active and have been responsible for much of the growth in total Li-ion patent applications over the past five to 10 years. 

“Since 2011, Chinese assignees have been responsible for approximately 47% of all patent applications, compared to just 17% during the period 2001-2010,”  IDTechEx’s document states.

“This mirrors the growing importance of Chinese players in Li-ion development and suggests that beyond their dominance in processing and manufacturing, China may move into a dominant IP position too, especially if assignees start to file outside of China, which tends not to be the case currently.”

In the view of the British firm, competition between battery manufacturers is intensifying, emphasizing the importance of battery R&D and protecting innovation. 

“Delving into the trends being seen in patent applications and filings can be used as a tool to provide insights into the key areas of innovation in Li-ion batteries, areas of development favoured by key players, and where R&D innovation is taking place,” the report suggests.