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Smart grid technology innovation is gathering momentum

Patent filings research carried out by UK-based intellectual property firm, Withers & Rogers, has revealed that innovation activity in the area of energy storage – and smart grid technology in particular – is gathering momentum. This is partly due to the UK government’s decision to step up its search for innovative solutions to help combat climate change.

Patent applications double in three years

Based on patent-filing data sourced from the European Patent Office (EPO), over 450 patent applications for smart grid technologies were filed in 2012, more than double their number just three years earlier. This sharp, upward trend in filings indicates a surge in innovation activity. (Due to the time it takes for an application to be published and to become public (18–24 months), this research is based on the latest complete data available.)

Based on the latest complete data, the top filers for smart grid technologies in Europe are GE, Siemens, SMA Solar Technology, and Toshiba. While it is no surprise that some well known multinationals are represented in this list, there is also a healthy spattering of growing, innovation-led businesses involved in this area of research and development.

Smart grid innovation gathering momentum

‘There has been a global surge in innovation activity in the area of energy storage and smart grid technologies, with a number of European SMEs now filing a significant number of patents,' says Andrew Thompson, partner and patent attorney at Withers & Rogers.

‘The fact that smart grid innovation is gathering momentum means it is well placed to complement other energy storage solutions, such as batteries, and it represents a prime opportunity for clean tech companies in the UK and across Europe,' continues Thompson. 'By patenting their technologies now, companies have a chance of securing status as part of a new standard for energy storage solutions in the future.’

Patent protection is vital

As with other innovation races, it is vital that any business investing in R&D seeks patent protection for its inventions, and takes advice on how to focus its activity to avoid potential infringement action and secure maximum commercial return.

Energy storage was recently identified in the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Energy Technology Perspectives 2015 report as one of the areas of technology that is set to make the biggest contribution to addressing climate change between now and 2025.


IEA report: Energy Technology Perspectives 2015

Withers & Rogers

Posted 08/01/2016 by Steve Barrett

Tagged under: Smart grids , Patents , Intellectual property (IP) , Energy storage

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