Düsseldorf, July 4, 2023 – Europe is the global leader in patenting hydrogen technologies. This was the finding of a study by the European Patent Office (EPO) and the International Energy Agency. The report highlights the key trends in hydrogen technologies from 2011 to 2020, as measured by international patent families (IPFs). Each IPF represents a high-value invention for which patent applications have been filed at two or more patent offices worldwide. The study examined the entire spectrum of hydrogen technologies – from hydrogen supply, storage, distribution, and conversion to end applications.
The EU accounted for 28 percent of all IPFs submitted globally. Japan and the USA came in second and third places with 24 and 20 percent respectively. The USA is the only major applicant to see a drop, however. Within the EU, Germany leads the way with 11 percent of global IPFs, followed by France (6%) and the Netherlands (3%).
The EPO found that hydrogen production technologies accounted for the most hydrogen patents during the period studied. Furthermore, the report shows that in all segments of the hydrogen value chain low-emission innovations generated more than twice as many international patent families as established technologies. According to the report, technologies designed to tackle climate change accounted for nearly 80 percent of all hydrogen production IPFs in 2020. The growth was primarily due to innovations in the field of electrolysis.
“It is pleasing to see such a high level of innovation in hydrogen technologies in so many countries and fields of industry, and that people are investing in protecting ideas and building a carbon-neutral economy,” says Gottfried Schüll, patent attorney and partner at Cohausz & Florack (C&F). “For Germany and Europe in particular, this development certainly also means more competitiveness and technological supremacy.”