Japan among leaders in global patenting in hydrogen

Japan among leaders in global patenting in hydrogen

Japan accounts for 24% of all international patented families (IPFs) in hydrogen filed between 2011 and 2020, according to new IEA research.

While the European Union (28%) exceeds Japan’s prowess in the hydrogen patenting sector, Japan has been growing faster than Europe during the past decade, with compound average growth rates of 6.2% and 4.5% respectively.

The United States, with 20% of all hydrogen-related patents, is the only major innovation centre to see international hydrogen patent applications decline in the past decade.

Among hydrogen’s many potential end-use applications, the automotive sector has long been the focus for innovation, and patenting in this sector continues to grow – led mainly by Japan.

The strong growth of IPFs in transportation was driven by innovation in fuel cell propulsion in the automotive sector and, to a lesser extent, short-distance aviation (particularly drones). Patenting activities in these fields are largely dominated by Japanese and Korean automotive companies, and appear to generate synergies with innovation in PEM electrolysis.

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