The Japan Patent Office conducted a survey on trends in global patent applications related to electric vehicles (EVs) and other "electric propulsion vehicles" and announced that about 70% of the applications were filed by Japanese applicants.
Electric propulsion vehicles include EVs, hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) by the definition of the office. They do not include railway electric cars, which do not have wheels.
According to the survey, 16,670 patents concerning electric propulsion vehicles were filed around the world in 2001 to 2006. The number nearly doubled from 9,034 in 1995 to 2000. Of these patent applications, Japanese applicants filed more applications than applicants in any other region, accounting for 6,869 (76%) in 1995 to 2000 and 11,553 (69%) in 2001 to 2006.
Of the applications filed by Japanese applicants in 2006, HEV-related patents surpassed 1,400, far more than about 530 EV-related patents and 270 FCV-related patents. The number of patent applications is steadily rising across the three areas.
In addition, Japanese manufacturers dominated the list of manufacturers that filed the largest numbers of patent applications. In the rankings by region to file patents in this area, Toyota Motor Corp topped in Japan, the US, Europe and China among the five major regions in 1995 to 2006. Toyota ranked second only in Korea, outnumbered by local leader Hyundai Motor Co.