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Thomson Reuters Releases Detailed Report on Automotive Innovations

Thomson Reuters Releases Detailed Report on Automotive Innovations

For a  number of years now the Intellectual Property and Science business of Thomson  Reuters has been releasing reports related to patenting, and innovation on a  variety of different topics, and fields.

   One of these reports is the Top 100 Innovators, which is a listing of the  most innovative companies year on year based on their overall patenting  activities. This report looks at companies as a whole, and doesn't specify  particular industries.

   The company also makes predictions about where the world is headed based on  patent analysis. Last year they produced a study entitled  The World in 2025 - 10 Predictions in  Innovation, which projected where science and technology was headed based on  recently filed applications.

   Besides looking at individual companies, and making predictions the reports  also cover industries from both an overall perspective, as well as with  detailed categories. There have been a number of these publications in the  State of Innovation series.

   Overall, Thomson Reuters has published dozens of case studies, and reports  providing insights into the world of patenting, and the impact it is having  on technology development.

   Within the State of Innovation series Thomson Reuters occasionally takes  deep dives into various industries, and provides key insights into which  topics, and companies are filing patents in these fields. Today the  organization released their detailed report on the patent related goings on  within the field of automotives.

   A copy of the report can be downloaded from here.

   While the broad, yearly State of Innovation reports typically refrain from  drawing conclusions the industry specific deep dive provides a number of  insights from looking at the last five years of patent filings in the  industry. For instance, it is widely know that Toyota files the highest  number of patents in the area of automotive innovation, but the detailed  analysis in this report highlights how Hyundai has started coming on strong,  and will likely be giving Toyota a run for its money in the years to  come.

   While the surge in patenting by Hyundai is a recent occurrence, it should  not necessarily come as a surprise considering the other major  technology-based organizations that also make South Korea home, namely  Samsung, and LG. When I first saw the Thomson Reuters results I asked a  friend of mine who works for Honda what he thought of Hyundai. Without any  guidance from me, and without knowing that I was referring to patenting my  friend responded by saying that, "Hyundai wants to be Samsung." I  thought this was an interesting response from an engineer, but it certainly  makes sense that a South Korean auto maker would start to follow the example  of its successful country mates. Samsung, and LG have been setting the  example for years on how IP savvy organizations manage their patent related  activities, and the rest of the automotive industry would do well to pay more  attention to Hyundai if they are beginning to emulate Samsung, and LG.

   The report also looks at the details around the specific categories that  the various industry participants are filing in. This can be seen in some of  the previous reports, but in this deep dive patenting by several of the organizations  within the categories is also analyzed by year. This provides an added level  of patent analysis to this study, and provides additional insights on recent  interest by the company. For example, in the chart below it can be seen that  while the Handling categories is the one that Hyundai has the highest number  of inventions in, it is actually the Propulsion area which has been driving  their recent rise in patents.

   The report also looks at Hot Topics, and who are the companies to watch  within them, for the auto industry. These topics were picked based on the  amount of buzz they are receiving in the popular press, and the patent  analysis provides some surprising insights on them. In particular it was  interesting to read that while Google gets most of the attention in the field  of Autonomous Driving it is actually GM, Toyota, and Hyundai that have the  most inventions in the area.

   The conclusion reached at the end of the report are certainly worth  reading, and provide some specific thoughts on where the industry is heading.  If you are looking for more information about what insights can be found in  the report before providing your email address in order to download it, here  is the copy of the press release that Thomson Reuters published in  conjunction with the release.

   PHILADELPHIA, PA, January 20, 2015 – The Intellectual Property &  Science business of Thomson Reuters, the world’s leading source of  intelligent information for businesses and professionals, today released the  results of its study of the global automobile industry’s recent patent  activity. The findings, which are featured in the Thomson Reuters paper,  “State of Innovation in the Automotive Industry,” detail a massive commitment  from carmakers to new propulsion technology, which jumped from less than  2,000 patents filed in 2009 to nearly 12,000 by July 2014.

   Following are among the key findings in the report:

    Propulsion Patents Explode: According to analysis of patent data from 2009  through July 2014, activity in propulsion technology grew from less than  2,000 patents to nearly 12,000: more than any other technology area in the  automotive industry. It was also the only area of patents to reflect a  year-over-year growth in the five-year span.

    Toyota, Japan Lead the Way:With over 7,000 patent assignments to the  company during the period covered, Toyota is the auto world’s top innovator  from a patent perspective. The company is one of five Japanese carmakers  (Honda, Denso, Seiko Epson, Mitsubishi) in the top ten, the most of any  country. In contrast, the United States’ one representative in the top 10  assignees, General Motors, is seventh on the list, with short of 3,000  patents.

    Hyundai Sets Blistering Pace: The one Korean automaker in the top ten,  Hyundai, has burst onto the patenting scene. The company has earned the  distinction as the fastest growing patentee, climbing from a low point of  under 500 in 2010. Since then it is on a remarkable sprint toward the top,  resulting in nearly 1,200 patent filings in 2013, enough to rank them third  on the most-assigned list.

    ‘Connected’ Vehicle Technology Gains Momentum: After stealing the stage at  this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, the field of telematics, which enables  Wi-Fi-style communications in vehicles and powers the sensors that enable  self-driving vehicles, has made a prominent showing in the Thomson Reuters  Automotive Industry report. Companies as diverse as General Motors, LG and  United Parcel Service are actively patenting in the field.

    Safety Patents Grow Modestly: P atent activity in the four remaining auto  categories (navigation, handling, safety and security, and entertainment)  stayed flat or dipped, with safety and security being the lone exception.  Less than 1,000 patents were filed in 2009 in the safety and security  classification, a number that grew to roughly 2,500 in 2013.

   “The clock is quickly ticking towards Model Year 2025 – where U.S.  automakers’ fleets will be required by law to boast an average fuel  efficiency of 54.5 miles per gallon – and the industry is working diligently  to comply,” said Bob Stembridge, an intellectual property analyst at Thomson  Reuters. “The 2012 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) mandate seems to  have set the agenda for the next decade of car manufacturing, and the huge  spike in propulsion patents reflect this prevailing trend.”

   Data for this report were aggregated using Thomson Reuters Derwent World  Patents Index® (DWPI_) to identify global patent activity in the automobile  industry. Within each category, researchers analyzed the total number of  unique inventions (each invention was counted only once) issued in published  patent applications and granted patents between January 2009 and July  2014.

   To read the full report, visit: LINK

   About Thomson Reuters

   Thomson Reuters is the world's leading source of intelligent information  for businesses and professionals. We combine industry expertise with  innovative technology to deliver critical information to leading decision  makers in the financial and risk, legal, tax and accounting, intellectual  property and science and media markets, powered by the world's most trusted  news organization. For more information, go to

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