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Wind Energy 2017/ key applicants

Recent Inventions / Brief Overview

The present review includes information on the most productive applicants by the number of patent applica-tions registered in 2017 and related to horizontal axis wind turbines. In total, more than 2170 patent applica-tions represented by 404 applicants from 29 countries and registered in 28 patent offices of the world were found in generally-accessible sources on this topic as of the date of the present review compilation. The method-ology of searching and processing patent documents is provided on the Advanced Energy Technologies website.

This year, the patenting leaders were German Wobben Properties GmbH, and Danish Vestas Wind Systems A/S. The aggregate share of their patent applications exceeded 30% of the total number of applications. In addition to Germany and Denmark, the top 10 applicant list in 2017 included the representatives of the USA, Spain, China and Japan. In vast majority of cases the applicants from the top 10 list registered their applications without other participants. Wobben Properties GmbH was the most active in other countries, where it registered 254 documents or more than 70% of the total number of applications this company published in 2017.

Top 10 applicants by the number of patent applications filed in 2017

StatusCountryNameAverage, RateTotal, 2017
CompanyDEWobben Properties GmbH11.3354
CompanyDKVestas Wind Systems A/S12.8316
CompanyUSGeneral Electric14.5162
CompanyDKLM WP Patent Holding A/S10129
CompanyDESiemens AG13.596
CompanyJPMitsubishi Heavy Indus-tries, Ltd.10.864
CompanyESGamesa Innovation & Technology S.L.13.238
CompanyJPHitachi, Ltd.13.437
CompanyCNBeijing Gold-wind Science & Creation Windpower Equipment Co Ltd9.736
CompanyDESenvion S.A.1333

Source: Advanced Energy Technologies

With some minor exceptions, almost all companies from the top 10 list were the only applicants in their patent applications. Vestas Wind Systems A/S had the highest share in the register of intellectual property for all of the 1583 patent applications collected; it comprised almost 20%.
In addition to national patent offices, all of the aforementioned companies were patenting in foreign offices or WIPO. Wobben Properties GmbH succeeded the most in this regard by registering its applications in 11 patent offices, including the large ones, such as CNIPA (CN), EPO, USPTO (US) и WIPO.

Distribution of patent applications by patent offices around the world among the top 10 applicants

Source: Advanced Energy Technologies

CIPO (CA) - Canadian Intellectual Property Office; CNIPA (CN) - National Intellectual Property Administration; DKPTO (DK)- Danish Patent and Trademark Office; DPMA (DE) - German Patent and Trade Mark Office; EPO - European Patent Organization; IMPI (MX) - Mexican Institute of Industrial Property; INPI (AR) - National Institute of Industrial Property (Argentina); INPI (BR) - National Institute of Industrial Property (Brazil); IP Australia (AU) - IP Australia; IPO (GB) - Intellectual Property Office; JPO (JP) - Industrial Property Office (Japan); KIPO (KR) - Korean Intellectual Property Office; OEPM (ES) - Spanish Patent and Trademark Office; Rospatent (RU) - Federal Service for Intellectual Property (Russia); TIPO (TW) - Taiwan Intellectual Property Office; USPTO (US) - United States Patent and Trademark Office; WIPO - World Intellectual Property Organization

The leading applicants in their inventions inevitably addressed the most vulnerable element of the system – Blades and components thereof, as well as Control and safety systems. Gamesa Innovation & Technology S.L., Hitachi, Ltd., and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. were involved into the improvement of Gearbox and transmission more than others. Siemens AG was one of the few companies that dedicated a portion of their novel technical solutions to the issues of Energy storage and hybrid generation systems. Almost all of the leading applicants developed the inventions related to the technologies of Maintenance, repair and replacement. In general, all of the participants of this group in 2017 in their inventions concerned several technological elements of wind turbine structure or wind power generation processes.

Technological elements of the top 10 applicants

Source: Advanced Energy Technologies

AC - Aerodynamic casings (nacelles, shrouds, etc.); B- Blades and components thereof; CSS - Control and safety systems; EE - Electrical equipment and generators; ESH - Energy storage and hybrid generation systems; GT - Gearbox and transmission; MRR - Maintenance, repair and replacement; OTE - Other technology elements; R - Rotors and components thereof; SE - Structural elements

Problems that defined the target directions of the technical solutions proposed in the patent appli-cations registered by the leading applicants were very diverse. For instance, Vestas Wind Systems A/S in its documents typically declared the objects of inventions that, inter alia, predominantly re-lated to the following groups: cost reduction for Operational maintenance, Repair and replacement, Equipment production, and Plant construction; and improvement of secondary equipment efficiency.

Distribution of technical problems in the patent applications found

Source: Advanced Energy Technologies

AOP - Administrative and organizational problems; ESI - Environmental and social impact; HCC - High CAPEX / Plant construction; HCG - High costs in general; HCP - High CAPEX / Equipment production; HOM - High OPEX / Operational maintenance; HOR - High OPEX / Repair and replacement; LEG - Low efficiency in general; LEKM - Low kinetic-to-mechanical power conversion efficiency; LEME - Low mechanical-to-electric power conversion efficiency; LEN - Low efficiency caused by secondary natural factors; LES - Low efficiency of secondary equipment; LEW - Low efficiency caused by wind variability; UP - Unclear problem

Wobben Properties GmbH and Senvion S.A. more than others in their inventions addressed the problem of Low efficiency caused by secondary natural factors. Senvion S.A. and Mitsubishi Heavy Indus-tries, Ltd. were involved into the development of novel technical solutions related to Low mechanical-to-electric power conversion efficiency. A portion of inventions of individual companies were aimed at Administrative and organizational problems. Virtually all of the participants considered the development of inventions aimed at cost reduction of Operational maintenance; Repair and replacement to be important.

More detailed information on the methodology as well as on the results of patent researches in the most important fields of contemporary energy industry can be found at Advanced Energy Technologies.