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Record high in patents for automotive battery technology

24 February 2020

  • Businesses race to gain global advantage in electric cars
  • More than 2,500 global car battery patents filed from China last year
  • But only FIVE from the UK, according to WIPO data


The last year has seen a record high in global patents filed for automotive battery technology as businesses worldwide race to secure the crucial technology needed in the electric car industry, says accountancy and business advisory firm BDO LLP.

According to World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) data, 3,400 global patents for automotive battery technology were filed in the past year, up 57% from 2,167 the year before*.

BDO says that leadership in battery technology is likely to be one of the most powerful drivers of the automotive industry over the next decade.

Tom Lawton, Head of Manufacturing at BDO, comments: “The move away from petrol, diesel and hybrid cars is now a question of when rather than if. Battery technology is likely to be one of the key battlegrounds in automotive in the 2020s.

“Carmakers, electronics companies and universities are all putting substantial resource into developing the technology that will enable vehicles to be compliant with new legislation and consumer sentiment. Battery electric vehicles could well be the default system in the near future, and manufacturers are gearing up for that.”

Only FIVE battery patents filed by UK entities in 2108/19

Of the 3,400 automotive battery patents filed worldwide with WIPO last year, only five were filed by UK entities compared to more than 2,500 by Chinese filers.

These figures** place the UK outside the top 10 filers of global auto battery patents in the past year – not only behind battery technology leaders China, Japan and the United States, but also behind less-established automotive manufacturing countries like India and Russia.

The Government is in the process of establishing a new UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) in Coventry, which aims to drive the commercialisation of battery technology developed in the UK. The facility is being created with finding from the Faraday Battery Challenge, part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

Says Tom Lawton: “It’s crucial for the UK doesn’t lose out in the race to develop world-class battery technology. The UKBIC is a first step on that path. Building on the West Midlands’ long-established expertise in automotive manufacturing is the right move.”

LG & Toshiba lead the way in global battery patents

The chemicals division of Korean conglomerate LG and Japanese electronics giant Toshiba were the global leaders in battery patents in the past year, filing 140 and 129 patents respectively.

Five of the Top Ten filers worldwide in 2018/19 were Chinese businesses, with the leader being BYD, a Xi’an-based producer of electric and hybrid cars, buses and commercial vehicles.

Top Ten filers of global battery patents in 2018/19

Company Country Automotive  battery patents filled in 2018/19
LG Chemical South Korea 140
Toshiba Japan 129
BYD China 82
Murata Manufacturing Japan 77
SinoEV Technologies China 58
Beijing Electiric Vehicle China 48
Toyota Japan 39
Audi Germany 27
CATL China 24
CH-Auto Technology China 24

* Year end October 31 2019. Global patents filed with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). Patents filed with WIPO are automatically filed with the intellectual property offices all of its 192 member states.

** Note: These figures do not include patents filed domestically within the UK only. UK-only patents are filed with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), the official UK government body responsible for intellectual property (IP) rights.


Note to editors

Accountancy and business advisory firm BDO LLP provides integrated advice and solutions to help businesses navigate a changing world.

Our clients are Britain’s economic engine – ambitious, entrepreneurially-spirited and high-growth businesses that fuel the economy. 

We share our clients’ ambitions and their entrepreneurial mind-set. We have the right combination of global reach, integrity and expertise to help them succeed. 


BDO LLP operates in 17 locations across the UK, employing nearly 5,500 people offering tax, audit and assurance, and a range of advisory services. BDO LLP is the UK member firm of the BDO international network.

BDO’s global network

The BDO global network provides business advisory services in 167 countries, with 88,000 people working out of 1,800 offices worldwide. It has revenues of $9.6bn. 


Richard Crossan
Mattison Public Relations 
on behalf of BDO LLP
[email protected]
020 7645 3636

Laura Cairns
Senior PR Manager BDO 
[email protected]
0161 817 7627

BDO press office:
020 7893 3000
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