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Korea Sees More Patent Applications for Lithium Secondary Batteries

The lithium secondary battery industry is growing by more than 10 percent annually as the producer of a portable battery for electronic devices since its first introduction in 1991.

The industry is also expected to facilitate the energy storage system (ESS) industry, which is used for next-generation electric cars and smart grids.

The market for lithium secondary batteries is growing as they are the core parts to actualize next-generation technology.

The lithium secondary battery is differentiated by the core parts of cathode, anode, electrolyte, separator and battery management system (BMS).

According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) last week, the number of patent applications for lithium secondary batteries in Korea over the last ten years reached 6,318, and Korean applicants accounted for 69.6 percent, or 4,400.

Applications submitted by those outside Korea accounted for the rest of the 30.4 percent (1,918 applications), which showed an annual growth of 10.2 percent over the last ten years.

The number of patents for cathode-related technology was highest at 2,141 and accounted for 33.9 percent.

Technology regarding anodes also accounted for 19.1 percent, that for electrolytes 14.2 percent, that for separators 12.3 percent and that for BMS, 14.8 percent.

LG Chem submitted the highest number of applications, followed by Samsung SDI, and their applications accounted for 45.5 percent of the total applications in Korea. Panasonic, Sanyo, Sony and Toyota followed.

In particular, Korean small- and medium-sized parts companies that produce key parts of lithium secondary batteries also accounted for only 3 percent, showing their weak competitiveness in intellectual property rights.

A KIPO official noted that Korea’s lithium secondary battery industry has competed against Japan, which dominated the market. However the competition will be accelerated against Chinese companies that are growing at a rapid pace based on cheap and plentiful raw materials.

He added that the Korean government and corporations need to invest in SMEs to support their research and development as the enhanced technology level of SMEs is necessary for the heightened competitiveness of the batteries.

Source Text

Source: Newsis (Sep. 1, 2013)

** This article was translated from the Korean.

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