Patent Trends Study Part Five: Automotive Industry
It has been a wild decade for the automotive industry, with U.S. auto brands almost dying in the Great Recession. Federal government intervention rescued brands and attempted to turn them toward efficiency instead of profitable large SUVs. Although there has been a steep increase in patent filings in the automotive space, U.S. companies have a smaller proportion of them, indicating global forces are a major threat. This is especially acute in the area of electric propulsion, where our early patent lead has plateaued. Many of the car brands and battery innovators have been sold to Chinese interests who are moving quickly with government support to dominate the car industry, at least for electric vehicles (EVs). Our study not only identified a set of applications that pertained to this industry, but also—for each application in this set—we determined whether the application pertained to one or more of the categories shown in the topology below. If so, the application was appropriately tagged, such that it could be included in one or more category-specific data subsets for subsequent analysis.