China leads graphene patent race

15-01-2013

China leads graphene patent race

Flickr: CORE-Materials

A report released by technology intelligence provider CambridgeIP has named China as the world leader in patent applications relating to graphene, a potentially revolutionary material first isolated in the UK.

Graphene is made of single layer of carbon atoms. It is 100 times stronger than steel and is a better conductor of electricity than copper.

The report showed that Chinese entities filed 2,204 graphene-related patents, while those in the US filed 1,754.

Samsung is the company with most graphene patents, with 407 in total, a large part of the 1,160 filed by South Korean entities.

Despite the UK’s increased investment in graphene research, just 54 patent applications were made by UK-based businesses and universities.

Graphene is being touted as a replacement to silicon. Because of its versatility and efficiency, many see it as a key driver of the next industrial revolution.

The findings could raise concerns that the UK will lose out on opportunities to commercialise the material.

Quentin Tannock, chairman of CambridgeIP, said: “One of the striking features of the graphene patent landscape is the marked increase in graphene patent activity in Asia, especially South Korea and China, over the past several years.”

However he is optimistic that the race has not been lost by the UK: “UK inventors have a well-deserved reputation for being particularly innovative and the UK has enormous potential to secure future value in the graphene patent landscape.

“Additional funding for graphene R&D in the UK, and a growing awareness of the importance of patents to business models in many of the end-use sectors for graphene, will doubtless help UK based players secure most value from their graphene innovations.”

CambridgeIP, graphene, patent applications