Patent Landscape Application: A Case Study Based on Sony Battery Technology Transfer

Our world is experiencing rapid technological and scientific advancements today. It is, therefore, imperative that organizations and companies update their products with the advancement of science in order to remain competitive.

Technology intelligence relies heavily on patent information. Registration of patents at regular intervals is an essential indicator of the innovation of technology around the world. It is possible to predict new technologies and their direction in the future by examining patents. As a result, companies with more patents will most likely have ownership of this technology during a particular period.

An example of how patent landscape reports and technology monitoring can be applied will be shown in this BattScout article.

In 2016, Sony, the first company to commercialize lithium-ion batteries, announced that its battery business would be transferred to the Murata Manufacturing Group. It took the acquisition process until 2017 to complete the process. Technology firms and their strategies are always crucial to other competitors. In most cases, news about a strategic change in companies' business is usually released after the event has occurred or is leaked in the final stages by media agencies. However, changes in an active company's production process in the field can take years and perhaps millions of dollars. The following example illustrates how Sony used patent analysis to shift its technology. In the first stage, to connect this matter to the number of patents, it was necessary to refer to the most recent battery technology. In the last decade, lithium-ion batteries' new chemistries, such as silicon anodes, lithium-sulfur batteries, and solid-state electrolytes, have received more attention.

According to a patent review, various companies registered numerous patents in the mentioned subjects between 1990 and 2022. Furthermore, the number of patents registered with these topics is increasing until 2022. According to the graphs, Sony had registered patents in studied battery technologies until 2008. However, it has been a downward trend since 2008, so in 2018, their number reached zero. Meanwhile, other lithium-ion battery manufacturers or technology owners like LG Chemical, Samsung, Toyota, and Nissan have strengthened their patent portfolios, showing their investment in the mentioned technologies.

It is possible to gain a perspective view of the industry by analyzing the R&D activities of companies in cutting-edge technologies. As a result, it was possible to predict the exit of Sony from the global battery business at least six years before it had been announced. As a result of the lag of two years between a patent being filed and published in a patent database, data from the first two or three years are unreliable.

It is only one example of how technology monitoring can be applied. In addition to keeping, you informed about the latest developments in new technologies and a given technical field, patent information can help you keep up to date with the most recent patent applications and patents issued by companies.

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