Policy / Systems / Technology

December 5, 2011


Japan Has 55 Percent of World's Renewable Energy Patents

Keywords: Environmental Technology Government University / Research institute 

Japan boasts the world's highest number of patent applications in the field of renewable energies, with 55 percent, followed by the U.S. with 21 percent, EU with 7 percent, PCT Applications [Note], South Korea, and China, according to a document released by the Japan's Ministry of the Environment (MOE) on July 27, 2011. The document was compiled by MOE based on a 2010 report by the World Intellectual Patent Organization (WIPO) and presented at the 94th Global Environmental Committee of the Central Environment Council as a position document from the former session.

[Note] A PCT application is an international patent application that is filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), an international patent law treaty.

Japan's research and development in the renewable energy field is "very advanced" both in academic/public research institutes and private sectors, according to the 2011 edition of "International Comparison of Science and Technology/Research and Development 2011" produced by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST). Japan is leading the world in the solar cells field, and its wind power and geothermal generation technologies have maintained equivalent positions to the US and European nations. However, when it comes to biomass technologies, Japan depends too much on technology transfer from overseas, except for particular technologies such as biofuel. Japan thus needs to carefully select and focus on specific fields.

On the other hand, the technical capabilities of production sites in Japan's private sector lag behind those in Western countries and China, and were evaluated as "advanced." Japan's market is small and as such has been slow to commercialize technologies, the report points out. While the global markets for solar cell and wind-power generation have been rapidly expanding, the cost performance of Japanese industries remains weak. Industrial technologies in geothermal generation, however, have maintained large shares globally.

Japan Ranks First in Number of Patents Filed in the Fields of Environment and Energy (Related JFS article)
Japanese Automakers Round Out Top 3 in Fuel Cell Patent Applications (Related JFS article)

Posted: 2011/12/05 06:00:15 AM



The Ministry of the Environment official website
World Intellectual Property Organization(WIPO), 2010