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The world’s innovations and who owns them

Who owns the key technologies and innovations in the world today? Cipher uses classified patent data, through the Universal Technology Taxonomy to help you understand key technology trends and who owns these technologies.

Discover the technologies a company owns


Company analysis

Which companies are of interest to you?

Using Cipher’s classified patent data by the Universal Technology Taxonomy (UTT), we can give you up to three company profiles including:

  • Technology areas they own
  • Are they growing those technology areas
  • Are they entering new technology areas
  • Which geographies are key to them

Fill out the form with your top 3 companies of interest and we will provide you with the analysis

UTT demonstration

Cipher’s Universal Technology Taxonomy

To create this report, we ran the 7.9 million assets through Cipher’s unique Universal Technology Taxonomy (UTT).

The UTT supports data exploration to answer patent search questions.  It also demonstrates a range of intelligence for benchmarking, competitor analysis and investment activity.

With relative ease, the UTT can figure out the innovation leaders and laggards in particular area of technology, such as sustainable development.

Learn more about the Universal Technology Taxonomy
Universal Technology Insight Analysis

Analysis of Technologies and Companies

What can the Universal Technology Taxonomy tell us about growing and declining areas of technology and who are the companies behind these technology trends?


The Energy technology space is made of:

  • batteries
  • gas turbines
  • fuel cells
  • hydroelectric
  • nuclear
  • photovoltaics
  •  piston engines
  • wind turbines

In total, Energy patents make up 6% of all global patents today but the pace of innovation or the rate of patenting activity has declined over the past five years.

However, the batteries sector, which is by far the largest technology in the space has had plenty of growth.

Cipher has produced a number of green energy reports, which can be found on our sustainability hub.

Who are the key companies in Energy innovation?

Toyota Motor Corporation, LG and General Electric are the top three owners of innovation in Energy (i.e. they have the largest Energy patent portfolio).

Raytheon, Samsung and Panasonic make up the top five owners.

Both Toyota and LG are the top innovators (as they have published the most patents in the last four years), but Volkswagen, Raytheon, Panasonic and Bosch are all listed in the top ten innovators

In Batteries, Toyota, LG, Panasonic and Samsung are leading the way in terms of owning the technology and innovating.

Companies like Denso, TDK Corporation, NEC and Kia all feature in the top 20 innovators in Battery Technology.

What are the key technologies in Energy?

Energy superclass - list of inventors

  • Batteries by has the largest number of innovators, followed by Gas Turbines and Photovoltaics. Wind Turbines has the lowest number of innovations
  • In terms of pace of innovation (the number of published patents in the last four years), all the technology areas within Energy are declining or static, apart from Fuel Cells which has seen growth in the last year
  • The majority of innovation in Energy technologies has come from East Asia, with 63%. This jumps to 70% when you look at Batteries. North America is number two, with Europe in third place.


Electrical technology accounts for 13% of global patents, and includes:

  • displays
  • inductors
  • PCBs
  • lighting
  • capacitors
  • ADC & DAC
  • switches
  • cables
  • amplifiers
  • connections
  • audio transducers
  • resistors

Electrical technology has seen a sharp decline in the pace of innovation since 2019.

The biggest technology area within Electricals is Displays which is over half as big again as any other technology within this sector.

Key companies in Electrical technology

  • Both LG and Samsung Group are the top owners of patents in the Electrical technology space.  Panasonic, Mitsubishi and BOE Technology Group own roughly half the amount of patents as the two leaders.
  • The top owners are also the top innovators (the number of new patents published in the last four years). However, companies such as Valeo, Siemens and Huawei are in the top 20 innovators despite not featuring in the top 20 owners list, making them companies to watch.

Looking at Displays, technology is dominated by the names above as well as:

  • Sony
  • Fuji Film
  • Konica Minolta
  • Seiko Epson
  • Sumitomo

What are the key Electrical technologies?

Graph showing Electrical technology analysis

  • The top three largest Electrical technology areas are Displays, Inductors and Motors
  • The pace of innovation of Displays (the number of patents across the last four years) is markedly dropping – as are most technologies within Electricals
  • East Asia has 62% of the patents in Displays and also accounts for 72% of display technology

Information Technology

Information Technology accounts for 15% of the global patents (granted and pending) and includes technologies such as:

  • engineering software
  • storage
  • gaming
  • security
  • e-commerce
  • streaming
  • image processing
  • printing
  • UI
  • social media
  • 3D printing
  • scanning
  • machine learning
  • speech recognition
  • AR & VR
  • Blockchain

The pace of innovation has been growing noticeably in this technology area.

Who are the key companies in Information Technology innovation?

  • The top owners (i.e. the company owns the most number of patents) see Canon, IBM and Microsoft make up the top three. Sankyo, NEC Corp, Toshiba, NTT, Hitachi, and Alphabet all feature in the top 20
  • Canon, IBM and Sanyo Bussan are the top three innovators (the organisations with the most patent publications in the last four years). Companies such as Amazon, Dell and Kyocera make it into the top 20
  • Looking at Gaming technologies, the top innovators are Sanyo Bussan, Sankyo and Daiichi Shokai.

Information superclass - list of inventors

What are the key Information technologies?

  • Gaming is the fastest growing technology area in IT, with the largest number of patents published. However, Machine Learning has had the sharpest rise since 2015
  • The number of patents published year on year since 2015 in Social Media is also declining
  • East Asia leads the way in terms of Electrical inventions and Gaming inventions, with 56% and 86% respectively


Materials technologies account for 11% of all global patents. Within Materials the following technologies are included:

  • chemicals
  • polymers
  • packaging
  • gases
  • liquid processing
  • coatings
  • insulation
  • glass
  • fabrics

The pace of innovation has been growing noticeably in this technology area.

Who are the key companies innovating in materials?

  • Some familiar names are present, with LG, Toyota, and Mitsubishi Chemicals holding the most patents in this technology. Other chemical companies dominate the technology, including BASF, Dow, Sekisui Chemical, Shin Etsu Chemical and Exxon Mobil
  • The top innovators in Materials are LG and Toyota with Dai Nippon Printing making up the top three. Saudi ARAMCO, Toppan Inc, POSCO Nippon Steel, Toray Industries and JFE Holdings are present in the top 20
  • Within Chemicals LG, Exxon Mobil and Saudi ARAMCO are the top three innovators. Companies such as Sumitomo Metals & Mining, Honeywell, Evonick, Solvay and Institut Francais du Petrole also make the top 20 innovators list in this sector

What are the key technologies in Materials?Graph showing the geographical breakdown of materials technologies

  • Chemicals has the largest number of patents but Polymers is the fastest growing technology area (number of patents published in the last four years), with Packaging in third place
  • East Asia dominates with the 70% of all the patents in Materials, but for Chemicals the US comes a very close second to the same region.


Mechanical patents account for 20% of all global patents and is the second biggest technology area after Life Sciences. Mechanical technology includes:

  • conveyors
  • pipes
  • furniture
  • transmissions
  • fasteners
  • drills
  • wheels and tyres
  • munitions
  • heat exchangers
  • clutches and brakes
  • doors
  • cutting rolls
  • valves
  • mouldings
  • bearings
  • robotics
  • pumps
  • suspension
  • airbags
  • hinges
  • steering
  • locks
  • haptics

Who are the key companies in Mechanical innovation?

  • Toyota is by far the largest patent owner in this technology, with over 30,000 patents. Hyundai, Honda, Bosch and Volkswagen are all in the top five. Other car manufacturers feature in the top 20, such as Ford, Nissan and ZF Friedrichshafen.
  • The top 20 Mechanical patent owner list also includes Nippon Steel, Halliburton, tyre giants Bridgestone and Continental, Mitsubishi Electric and Schaefller
  • The top five innovators (those who published the most patents in the last four years) are the same as the top owners, apart from Schaeffler replacing Honda

What are the key Mechanical technologies?

Graph showing the list of technologies in the Mechanical superclass

  • Overall, Mechanical is in decline in terms of innovation rate, due to Conveyors, Furniture and Fasteners declining in the last year. The pace of innovation in other technologies is pretty flat, indicating consistent patenting

Reports created by the UTT

A global view of innovation

This Cipher report provides a breakdown of the world’s inventions and activity into individual technology sectors.
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BlackBerry Patent Sale Announced

Using the Cipher Universal Technology Taxonomy we have identified the top areas of technology innovation protected by the BlackBerry portfolio.
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Life Sciences top patent publishing list

Life Sciences is a clear leader out of all of the patent categories tracked to chart the pace of innovation. This was one of the lead findings in Cipher’s recent global report.
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Oil and Gas Supermajors – Energy Transition

Our updated report finds that supermajors’ technology innovation is more evident in the Materials, Mechanical, and Sensors & Optics categories.
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