Cipher patent intelligence demonstrates significant shift in automotive technology strategies

Cipher today published Automotive Patent Trends 2019, the definitive guide to OEMs and their supplier’s protection of key technologies impacting the future of the car.

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  • OEMs and their suppliers now own more than 500,000 patented inventions
  • China now files for more patents than the US and Europe combined
  • New technologies are being protected at more than twice the rate of conventional technologies
  • The automotive sector faces significant challenges from the tech sector and start-ups

London, May 9, 2019 – Cipher, the market leader in strategic patent intelligence, today published Automotive Patent Trends 2019, the definitive guide to OEMs and their supplier’s protection of key technologies impacting the future of the car.

OEMS and their suppliers own more than half a million patented inventions

The automotive sector has for many years been a major contributor to the patent system.

“The numbers are simply staggering. OEMs and their suppliers now own more than 500,000 patented inventions representing an investment of over $2bn to obtain and maintain. There is an urgent need for this asset to be better understood and strategically integrated with routine competitive intelligence” observes Nigel Swycher, CEO of Aistemos, the company that publishes Cipher Automotive Patent Trends 2019.

automotive patents by area

Japan and China dominate the patent landscape in terms of scale

Japanese OEMs have historically protected their inventions on an epic scale (GM, Ford and VW all own less than 15,000 patented inventions while Honda owns c.35,000 and Toyota over 65,000)New patent filings in China now exceed the US and Europe combined.

Cipher Automotive Patent Trends enables the industry to dig beneath these headline statistics to understand who’s doing what in the underlying technologies. “Strategic business intelligence is not about counting patents but understanding how patents map to technologies and then integrating the insights into critical business decisions,” says Nigel Swycher.

The power of Cipher analysis was recently used to powerful effect after Toyota announced that it was willing to license over 24,000 of its electrification patents without publishing what was on offer. “Cipher was able to automatically generate the patent data mapped to technologies in under an hour” comments Steve Harris, CTO at Aistemos.

Growth in autonomy and electrification 4x more than conventional technologies

Autonomous technologies, which include the full range of technologies required to deliver the self-driving car, grew at 5x the rate of internal engine tech. “The historic investment in the engine means that there are still 4x more ICE patents than autonomous driving patents, but things will change fast” comments Moez Mitha, responsible for the design and build of the Cipher Automotive taxonomy.

Strategic patent intelligence delivers powerful insights into technology trends

All the charts in Cipher Automotive Patent Trends were machine generated thanks to advances in AI and machine learning.

Chris Kowalsky, Technical Product Lead and responsible for patent strategy at BorgWarner see the strategic patent intelligence this way: “With Cipher, I can produce a report in a few hours that used to cost $20,000 to produce, and the results are far more relevant and useful.”

“This means that patent data now joins the ranks of actionable business intelligence, enabling the IP and R&D teams within companies to focus on analysis – and not the manual tagging of patent assets, which is a task best performed by a machine” adds Nigel Swycher. “The future of mobility depends on collaboration and speed to react. Cipher Automotive equips the industry with essential information. Better data means better decisions.”

About Cipher Automotive

Cipher Automotive is the only trusted source of strategic patent intelligence about who owns the patent technologies critical to the future of the car. At its heart, Cipher contains an industry-defined taxonomy of over 200 technologies covering everything from autonomy, electrification and mobility to the internal combustion and transmission. Customers include OEMs and suppliers such as BorgWarner, Aptiv and Mahle.

Developed in collaboration with OEMs and their suppliers, Cipher Automotive uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to analyse technical information contained in over 100 million patent documents, registered to over 1 million owners across over 100 countries. Subscribers are able to search and analyse by company, technology and geography in order to make informed decisions in support of their investment and market strategies.

Download a digital copy of Cipher Automotive Patent trends 2019  here or request a printed copy by contacting

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