"The competitor to be feared is one who never bothers about you at all, but goes on making his own business better all the time."
- Henry Ford
E-mobility is unquestionably on the rise. As patent analysis experts, we have seen this trend in the absolute and qualitative increase in patenting in this technology class (IPC & CPC – B60L). According to a recent study by the International Energy Agency, global electric car sales witnessed an astonishing 40% year on year growth in 2018. If this growth is maintained, it is not long before conventional combustion engine cars become a thing of the past like steam powered vehicles. In this context, Automotive OEM's need to ensure they have all the right information regarding this technology to be better prepared to face these changing times. Read on, to know how clean patent data and accurate analytics can provide the necessary insights to your strategic decision making process.
Technology development as characterized by patent publications
If you are an automotive OEM or supplier who is not involved in developing this technology, you may be a few decades too late, as inventors have been publishing patents in this technology class since over 24 years. In the chart below, we can see that filings have been fairly consistent in the initial years. Simply by looking at the sudden increase in patenting since 2009-13 it is clearly understandable that this technology has seen a spike of interest and patent filings, mostly in the last decade. For those who are keeping track, this was also the same time that Tesla came out flying through the doors with their revolutionary all electric Model S.
Not so surprisingly, when the market for Model S cooled a little bit, after the initial hype, interest in electric vehicles dipped sharply as indicated by reduced patent publishing and filing. But Tesla's perseverance, and their strategy of making their patents on electric vehicles semi open source, paid off as companies and inventors began realising the potential this technology was offering. This can be clearly seen (in the chart above) from the increase in publications since the slump, from 2016 to 2018, which is now expected to continue to grow in the coming years. Currently, it’s not just Tesla and other major traditional automotive players who are developing this technology. There is an abundance of developers in this space, ranging from startups to partnerships between existing players, who are working on developing various specific aspects of the electric automobile. With accurately assigned patent data, it is easy to identify who these new players are and where they are protecting their technologies.
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What traditional OEM's should be watching out for?
In such times of frenzied development, it is not sufficient that you are actively involved in the field. It is also important, that you possess competitive intelligence to make strategic decisions, to ensure your position ahead of the pack. A traditional OEM is now up against technology companies, niche manufacturers and new entrants who are all competing for a piece of the same cake.
Not so surprisingly, a recent study also called out the "traditional" automotive sector for being a “digital follower” when it comes to adopting digital IP data and analytics services to internal customers. In such a scenario, it is our moral responsibility, nay duty, to ensure everyone in the Automotive IP and Management community is informed about our service that provides accurate patent data and analytics services so you can take advantage of it to retain your competitive advantage as incumbents of the mobility market.
Solution: Patent Analytics helps you stay focused
spot as soon as any company in the world who files in this technology - since we regularly update our database with current and harmonized patent data
gauge the quality of your patents and compare it to those filed by other players - using our scientific metric, and
identify potential licensing or R&D partners - using our accurate citation data to identify companies that are building on your patents, and more
So, in order to raise awareness among our future Automotive partners, we decided to take a closer look at this impressive technology and market space from a technology standpoint, to understand: how patent filings in this technology evolved over the years, where the balance of power lies and spot shifting technology centers, if any.
In the coming weeks we will be putting up, regularly, one interesting relevant aspect (from a patent point of view) about e-mobility technologies. Follow us on LinkedIn to ensure you don't miss out on any important insights!
"If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the results of a hundred battles."
- Sun Tzu