General Motors Leads All Automakers In Clean Energy Patents

JUL 2 2014 BY STAFF 6

81.8 Miles On Electricity In A Chevy Volt - We're Sure That More Than A Few Patents Contribute To That Level Of Single Charge Range

81.8 Miles On Electricity In A Chevy Volt – We’re Sure That More Than A Few Patents Contribute To That Level Of Single Charge Range

Some automakers file for patent rights all the time.  Others rarely file for patents.

General Motors, like Honda and Toyota, attempts to patent all of its technological ideas, which is part of the reason why it tops this chart for clean energy patents from 2002 through 2013.

The other part of the reason GM leads in clean energy patents comes from the fact that is offers everything from battery electric vehicles, to plug-in hybrids (EREV), to mild hybrids to fuel-cell vehicles.

General Motors truly has a toe or two in every clean energy automotive segment, so it should come as no surprise that GM  was listed as a Top Innovator and placed #1  in automotive industry patent filings for the 11th consecutive quarter and #1 in clean energy patents granted since 2002.

Unfortunately, there’s no direct mention of the Chevy Spark EV or Chevrolet Volt in the press release below, but we do know that the Volt heads is GM’s leader in clean energy patents.

GM Earns Spot as Top Innovator
Patent filings reflect company’s drive to deliver leading technologies to customers

DETROIT – Dreaming up ideas that benefit drivers is interesting; commercializing those ideas into real product features is when customers take notice.

An indicator of General Motors’ commitment to creating customer-driven innovation can be found in the results of two leading studies – the Patent Board and Clean Energy Patent Growth Index. Together they show that GM is a leader in overall patent filings and those focused on clean energy technology.

GM finished first in overall industry patent filings for the 11th consecutive quarter, according to the Patent Board.

Additionally, GM now leads all companies in total U.S. clean energy patents granted since 2002, according to the Clean Energy Patent Growth Index, a third-party monitor of intellectual property involving clean technologies.

“Patents are an indicator of the potential for the GM enterprise to innovate,” said Jon Lauckner, GM chief technology officer, vice president of Global R&D and president of GM Ventures. “Thriving companies have a track record of creating and commercializing innovation, and we are striving every day to discover technological breakthroughs that create tangible benefits for our customers around the globe.”

Patents by the numbers

During the past year, GM accumulated 1,643 patents, according to the Patent Board study. Patent volume is necessary, but commercialization for customer benefit is most important.

“GM is the only company to have achieved the No. 1 position 11 consecutive times in the Patent Board’s Automotive and Transportation industry ranking,” said Karl R. Wilhelm, chief executive officer of the Patent Board. “GM’s contribution to innovation in its industry has clearly put it ahead of its competitors.”

The Patent Board is the leading independent provider of best practices research tools and metrics for patent analysis and intellectual property investment. The Patent Board tracks and analyzes innovation and patents across 17 industries on a global basis. The Patent Board technology strength ranking is based on each company’s patent portfolio scale, quality and impact.

Prioritizing clean energy

Clean energy patents are growing faster than ever in the United States. With more clean energy patents than any other company, GM is committed to developing and implementing technologies that lessen the environmental impact of vehicle emissions.

GM also led all companies in fuel cell patents granted in 2013 as it has since 2002. Fuel cell technology could enable vehicles to be fueled with renewable hydrogen, a sustainable alternative to the gasoline-powered internal combustion engine.

The Index tracks U.S. patents for solar, wind, hybrid/electric vehicles, fuel cells, hydroelectric, tidal/wave, geothermal, biomass/biofuels and clean, renewable energy.

Chevrolet Corvette Stingray’s all-new 8 speed automatic transmission

GM has been granted more than two dozen patents related to the all-new eight-speed automatic transmission that will be offered in the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray for 2015, enhancing the performance and efficiency of the 2014 North American Car of the Year. Designed and built by GM, the new transmission delivers world-class shift times that rival the best dual-clutch designs.

The GM-designed 8L90 eight-speed is expected to contribute up to 5-percent greater efficiency, when compared to the previous six-speed automatic.

Additional control, in the palm of your hand

In OnStar’s 18-year history, it has received more than 500 patents for vehicle navigation, safety and telematics.

A handful of these patents are incorporated into the OnStar RemoteLink™ mobile app. This app allows users to start, stop, lock, unlock and activate the horn and lights on their vehicle from remote distances. These remote features are now free for five years on properly equipped 2014 and newer GM vehicles.

Users of the app also can access vehicle diagnostic information, such as tire pressure, fuel level and oil life. Drivers also can use RemoteLink to send a destination directly to their vehicle’s navigation system through their smartphone. Once the driver starts the vehicle, directions to the planned destination will begin.

GM’s 2014 model year lineup includes 36 vehicles compatible with the RemoteLink mobile app.

Categories: Cadillac, Chevrolet


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6 Comments on "General Motors Leads All Automakers In Clean Energy Patents"

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I’d like to see the exact breakdown of what percentage each year’s technology is (i.e., BEV, hydrogen, etc.). If I recall correctly, most of Toyota and Honda’s “green” patents are for hydrogen and hybrid technology (2013 is probably the same). At the end of the day, these types of number will at least give you a rough idea of what and where the company is spending their R&D budget.

Also, remember that it typically takes at least 3 years or so to get a patent application issued. So, for example, the 2013 numbers are probably indicative of R&D from 1999-2000 or so.

Holding patents is so two-months-ago lol

How many of these patents are applicable to parts in current model year vehicles?

eg: A patent GM spent millions on for battery technology used in EV1 that only had an active product life of a few years. This group of patents likely to never used again as better alternatives are now being used. Sharing, or licensing of the patents could have enabled today’s technology to be developed earlier at lower cost.

Inactive patents tend to only serve as roadblocks to innovation. Patents are mostly used to drive up R&D costs to competitors as holders don’t tend to license at fee structures that allow for implemtation at an economic pricepoint.

A patent from GM’s EV-1 is likely used in today’s Volt.

This may pay off for them big time. As various competitors finally start getting around to building EVs and PHEVs, they might find themselves having to license from GM.

Most of the times, patents are just there b/c it is an idea but hardly useful…