Patents for hydrogen fuel cell technology on the rise

20 May 2022 | Muriel Cozier

‘Climate change demands that we increase innovation-centred policies, incentives and investment…’

A study from the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) indicates patent applications for transport related hydrogen fuel cell technology ‘has boomed since 2016.’ China, Japan and Germany are said to be leading this trend.

The WIPO said that between 2016 and 2020, the filing of patent applications in the hydrogen fuel cell sector increased by 23.4%. During 2020, China accounted for 7261 applications (69% of the total), followed by Japan, with 1186 applications, Germany 646 applications, with Republic of Korea and the US; 583 and 403 applications respectively. The study also indicates that high financial investment is allowing new players to emerge on the patent landscape and that policies and corporate pledges to decarbonise supply chains and logistics are increasing patent activity in the area of shipping.

The study notes that companies account for nearly 80% of all patent filings for fuel cells used in transportation, and only once research institution, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, is in the top 30 applicants filing in this area. The study; Patent Landscape Report: Hydrogen fuel cells in transportation was released during the Hydrogen Technologies in Transport Conference which was held 17 - 18 May in Slovakia, co-hosted by the Government of Slovakia and the WIPO.

The WIPO added that the report is part of its ‘anti-climate change efforts’ which includes its online platform for technology exchange, WIPO GREEN, connecting providers of green technologies with others seeking environmentally friendly solutions.

Daren Tang, WIPO Director General commented: ‘Climate change demands that we increase innovation-centred policies, incentives and investment to ensure that hydrogen fuel cell and other clean technologies reach consumers quickly.’

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