The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by technologies and practices to address environmental challenges and promote a more sustainable future, and growing importance of technologies such as lithium-ion chemistry, electrodes, battery recycling, and thermal management that contribute to the performance, safety, and efficiency of lithium-ion batteries. In the last three years alone, there have been over 3.6 million patents filed and granted in the technology industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in Environmental Sustainability: Lithium-ion batteries. Buy the report here.

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

300+ innovations will shape the technology industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the technology industry using innovation intensity models built on over 2.5 million patents, there are 300+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, environmental sensors, smart grid monitoring system, and EV battery management systems are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Waste management systems, engine exhaust control systems, and hybrid solar are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are, energy trading platforms, EV charging metering automation and smart grid metering, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for environmental sustainability in the technology industry

Lithium-ion batteries is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability

Lithium-ion batteries, widely employed in consumer electronics, electric vehicles, and energy storage systems, are rechargeable batteries consisting of one or more cells that facilitate the movement of lithium ions between an anode and a cathode. With lightweight nature and impressive energy density, these batteries are considered exceptionally suitable for various portable electronic devices.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 90+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of lithium-ion batteries.

Key players in lithium-ion batteries – a disruptive innovation in the technology industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to lithium-ion batteries

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Panasonic 284 Unlock Company Profile
Gogoro 218 Unlock Company Profile
GuangDong OPPO Mobile Telecommunications 189 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 152 Unlock Company Profile
NEC 108 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 90 Unlock Company Profile
Murata Manufacturing 84 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 65 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Electric 60 Unlock Company Profile
LG 58 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba 53 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 52 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 50 Unlock Company Profile
Johnson & Johnson 44 Unlock Company Profile
Tesla 43 Unlock Company Profile
Shell 36 Unlock Company Profile
Emerging Automotive 35 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 32 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 30 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 29 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 28 Unlock Company Profile
Kyocera 27 Unlock Company Profile
Mahindra & Mahindra 26 Unlock Company Profile
GS Yuasa 24 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung SDI 24 Unlock Company Profile
ZTE 24 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 23 Unlock Company Profile
EnerSys 23 Unlock Company Profile
LS Electric 22 Unlock Company Profile
Nokia 22 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 21 Unlock Company Profile
Microsoft 19 Unlock Company Profile
Crown Equipment 19 Unlock Company Profile
Radio Flyer 19 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil 17 Unlock Company Profile
Sumitomo Electric Industries 16 Unlock Company Profile
Kymco Motors 16 Unlock Company Profile
Renesas Electronics 16 Unlock Company Profile
Nikon 15 Unlock Company Profile
Furukawa 15 Unlock Company Profile
Semiconductor Energy Laboratory 13 Unlock Company Profile
Nanjing Chervon Industry 13 Unlock Company Profile
Honeywell International 13 Unlock Company Profile
BlackBerry 13 Unlock Company Profile
Medtronic 13 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 12 Unlock Company Profile
ResMed 12 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 12 Unlock Company Profile
Sharp 12 Unlock Company Profile
Razer 10 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Panasonic is one of the leading patent filers in lithium-ion batteries. The company’s patents are aimed at an energy storage system, powered from at least one of a solar cell, a commercial AC power source, and a storage battery is supplied to load devices.

In the daytime, under the condition that an amount of power generated by the solar cell is less than an amount of power consumed by the load device, the discharge from the storage battery to the load device is permitted or prohibited if the charge level of the storage battery is higher or is not higher than the reference charge level.

The discharge from the storage battery, which makes the charge level of the storage battery lower than the reference level, is permitted at night.

Other prominent patent filers in the space include Gogoro and GuangDong OPPO Mobile Telecommunications.

By geographic reach, Mahindra & Mahindra leads the pack, followed by Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic. In terms of application diversity, ResMed holds the top position, followed by GuangDong OPPO Mobile Telecommunications and Shell.

Lithium-ion batteries have revolutionised portable electronics by providing high energy density, longer battery life, and lightweight design, making them essential for smartphones, laptops, and other mobile devices. Its rechargeable nature also promotes sustainability and reduces waste.

To further understand how environmental sustainability is disrupting the technology industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Sustainability – Thematic Research.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.