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Hybrid cars – the value of patent strategies in innovation. Mike Lloyd and Justin Blows, Griffith Hack. Contents. Why study hybrid car patents Evolution of hybrid cars and hybrid car patents, and the dominance of Toyota How to get around Toyota 1) – Lead user innovation

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hybrid cars the value of patent strategies in innovation

Hybrid cars – the value of patent strategies in innovation

Mike Lloyd and Justin Blows, Griffith Hack

contents
Contents
  • Why study hybrid car patents
  • Evolution of hybrid cars and hybrid car patents, and the dominance of Toyota
  • How to get around Toyota 1) – Lead user innovation
  • How to get around Toyota 2) – Use of alternative technologies
  • Use of Network Patent Analytics to rank patents and patent portfolios
  • Summary of lessons learnt
background to study
Background to study

Griffith Hack wishes to show how patents support the development of clean and sustainable technologies (‘clean technologies’)

Hybrid cars are an excellent example of a commercially successful clean technology, with good patent data available

Summary details of all worldwide patents in which ‘hybrid’ and ‘car’ were found within two words of each other within the patent specification were downloaded from Thompson Innovation

Patent data was extensively analysed to show the relationship between patent filing and clean tech innovation

what is a hybrid car
What is a hybrid car?
  • Hybrid cars tend to feature:
    • A combination of petrol and electrical energy sources
    • Electrical energy partially collected during braking
  • Now in production in Melbourne
  • Hybrid cars are available or announced from Toyota, Honda, BMW, Audi, General Motors, Ford, Nissan……and even Porsche
1997 toyota prius electric hybrid
1997 Toyota Prius/electric hybrid
  • Only about 60 made, due to their high price and marginal fuel consumption improvement
toyota start filing hybrid car patents in 1994

2008 – Total sales of

Toyota hybrids exceed

1.7 million

1994 – Toyota publicly

commits to doubling

fuel efficiency

1997 – First Toyota Prius

released in Japan

2000 – Toyota Prius

released in US

Toyota start filing hybrid car patents in 1994
toyota have filed 43 of known hybrid car patent families filed by car companies
Toyota have filed 43% of known hybrid car patent families filed by car companies

Known hybrid patent families filed by car companies

Toyota

43%

Nissan

15%

Honda

9%

Other Japanese car companies

11%

All US car companies

8%

All European car companies

7%

Korea - Hyundai and Kia

6%

Chinese car companies

1%

0%

10%

20%

30%

40%

50%

Percentage of known hybrid

car patents filed by car companies

car company patent filings have been supported by supplier filings
Car company patent filings have been supported by supplier filings

Known hybrid car families filed annually

4000

3500

3000

Non-Japanese car companies

Non-Japanese suppliers

2500

Japanese suppliers

2000

Japanese car companies

1500

1000

500

0

1990

1992

1994

1996

1998

2000

2002

2004

2006

toyota dominates hybrid car sales
Toyota dominates hybrid car sales

Source: Hybrid cars.com

toyota s early filing lead has led to a self reinforcing patent sales ramp up
Toyota’s early filing lead has led to a self reinforcing patent/sales ramp up

Toyota hybrid patent family filings and vehicle sales

1200

350

300

1000

250

800

200

Patent family filings (priority

year)

Worldwide hybrid car sales,

600

thousand

150

400

100

200

50

0

0

1991

1993

1995

1997

1999

2001

2003

2005

Family patent filings

Hybrid car sales

toyota s patent strategy has been deliberate
Toyota’s patent strategy has been deliberate

“The first-generation Prius held more than 300 patents on its hybrid technology. The second-generation Prius claimed 370 patents. Since then, the Prius nameplate has had more than 2000 patent applications filed across the world, with the third-generation Prius filing 1000 on its own”

Bob Carter, Toyota US Division Group Vice President and General Manager, 2009

how to get around toyota 1 lead user innovation in plug in hybrids
How to get around Toyota?1)Lead user innovation in plug in hybrids
  • “affordable plug-in hybrids are a decade away”,
    • Toyota, 2006, seehttp://www.calcars.org/calcars-news/508.html
how to get around toyota 2 consider alternative technologies
How to get around Toyota? 2) Consider alternative technologies

Captures and reuses

energy from braking

BMW, Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Ford, GM, Mercedes, Audi……

Electric motors assist

conventional motor

Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Ford…..

Toyota, (Nissan, Ford and Mazda under licence from Toyota), GM in 2010

Electric motors in hybrid car

can power car alone

Plug in recharging

of batteries

Third party suppliers to Toyota hybrid customers, GM in 2010, Toyota in 2011

Pure electric (non hybrid)

– no conventional motor

Mitsubishi, Renault, Tesla

Available from:

citations in turn lead to other citations

US xxxx

199x

US 3605019

1971

US 4630314

1986

US 5612948

1997

US 4679227

1984

US 4888767

1989

Other citations

Other citations

And 65

other patents..

US 5612948

1997

US 5612948

1997

US 5612948

1997

US 5612948

1997

US 5612948

1997

US 5612948

1997

US 5095535

1992

US 5195576

1993

US 5283780,

1994

Citations in turn lead to other citations..

US 5487069

1996

slide23

And so on, until we end up with a network of citations (this schematic shows a network of the most central 5500 patents in the hybrid car study)

just who are paice corporation
Just who are Paice Corporation?
  • Paice Corporation was established in 1992 to develop hybrid drivetrains, i.e. before Toyota moved into hybrids.
  • Toyota has been held to infringe Paice’s 1992 US patent 5,343,970, the second ranked patent in our list of hybrid car patents.
  • Litigation between Paice and Toyota is continuing.
top ranked hybrid car patent applicants
Top ranked hybrid car patent applicants

* Top ranked applicant = 100

lessons from ip strategies in hybrid car innovation
Lessons from IP strategies in hybrid car innovation
  • Hybrid cars have been around for over a century, but without major commercial success until recently.
  • This changed when Toyota chose to invest heavily in both drivetrain development and patents, leading to dominance in both patents and sales, and patent licenses to competitors.
  • Strategies to deal with Toyota’s patent suite include:
    • Patent licensing (Ford, Nissan, Mazda)
    • Alternative hybrid drivetrains (BMW, GM, Honda)
    • Plug in conversions (A123 Systems and others)
    • Pure electric cars (Mitsubishi, Nissan, Tesla)
  • This data suggests that the patent system has encouraged technology investment by both Toyota and its competitors.
  • Hybrid car patents can be ranked in importance using Network Patent Analysis. This shows the success of the early patents filed by US drive train developer Paice Corporation.
optimum innovation and ip strategies may depend on your current technology and ip position
Optimum innovation and IP strategies may depend on your current technology and IP position

Toyota

File early and

file often

Position in relation to leading technologies

  • Carefully review
  • infringement risks
  • Try to push technology
  • into new directions
  • Acquire or license from
  • technology leaders
  • Develop product
  • improvements not
  • supplied by main players,
  • but sought by lead users
  • Understand infringement
  • risks

Suppliers of hybrid plug-in kits

GM, Ford…

Degree of industry engagement

Paice

Ahead of leading technologies

File broad

patents ahead

of big players

Behind leading technologies

Primary: direct suppliers of primary products or services

Secondary: suppliers to direct suppliers or consumers of products or services

acknowledgements
Acknowledgements
  • George Mokdsi from Griffith Hack for the patent search
  • The results in this presentation was based on patent data retrieved from the core patent collections available through Thomson Innovation which is provided by Thomson Reuters.
  • Doris Spielthennerof Optimice for analysing the patent data using Network Patent Analytics
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