Clean energy patents reached their highest level to date in 2008, according to results for the Fourth Quarter 2008 edition of the Clean Energy Patent Growth Index from Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti P.C.
Patents in wind, fuel cells, hydroelectric, tidal and geothermal were up in 2008 over 2007 with hydroelectric and tidal patents being at all time highs as depicted. In contrast, solar patents decreased slightly in 2008 and continued at a relatively steady pace since 2005. Hybrid/electric vehicle and biomass/biofuel energy patents also fell in 2008.
Honda again claimed the Clean Energy Patent crown in 2008 by edging General Motors out by two patents, and Honda leads overall since 2002. Automobile companies occupy 5 of the top ten patent leader spots since 2002 with three more in the top 25. Fuel Cell manufacturers Plug Power, Ballard and United technologies also appear in the top ten patent owners.
The remaining spots in the top ten are occupied by General Electric on the strength primarily of its wind patents (with an assist from its solar technologies), and solar manufacturer Canon.
Geographically, U.S. patent owners and inventors tied the rest of the world in the number of U.S. patents granted in the Clean Energy field over the period 2002-2008. California, Michigan, New York and Connecticut lead the other U.S. states in the Clean Energy area with the first three garnering twenty five percent of the Clean Energy patents granted to U.S. assignees since 2002.
Patent applicants from Japan (29 percent) and Germany (8 percent) were issued the second and third largest number of U.S. patents. Canada and South Korea followed with South Korea surpassing Canada in 2008.