18 December 2019
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The European Patent Office (EPO) recently released some initial data about patenting activity in the field of graphene composites.  While the ‘main course’ full report is not yet published, there is still plenty to learn from the information the EPO made available as the ‘starter’.

#1. The growth of patent filings is still accelerating

From less than 100 applications published per year up until 2010, it’s looking like 2019 will have towards 2500 – and the trend is ever upwards.

#2. China is a big player

The majority of the first filings are made in China, followed by Korea, the US and Japan.  The growth in Chinese applications carries much of the overall growth – filings in the US peaked in 2014 and in Europe in 2016.

#3. Europe is still a force to be reckoned with

There are a number of countries in Europe with a strong showing for graphene composite filings.  The UK, France, Poland, Germany, Italy, Spain and Finland to name just a few.

#4. Collaboration is key

According to the EPO, “[o]utside China there is a healthy balance of co-operation between industry and the research community”.  This implies there are plenty of parties interested in, and engaged in, joint research – and plenty of expertise outside industry.

#5. The environment is hot right now

The two hottest areas for patenting activity are technologies related to greenhouse gas emission mitigation and electrode composites (batteries of course also being key for greener energy usage).  Between them, these areas were responsible for around 20-25% of filings published in 2017 and 2018.

Watch out for further commentary when the full report is released!

Matthew is a Partner and Patent Attorney at Mewburn Ellis. Working primarily in the chemical and materials science fields, he has significant experience of the intricacies of the EPO. Matthew advises and assists clients with all stages of drafting, prosecution, opposition and appeal before the EPO. Many of his clients are Japanese and Chinese businesses that are seeking European patent protection. These include multinational corporations in the fields of high-performance ceramics and carbon fibre technologies, as well as pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies. Matthew also works with several research institutions and university technology transfer departments across Europe.

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