Protecting the Protection

Protecting the Protection: What can Patent Filing Trends Tell us About Technology Trends in Corrosion Treatments?

20,000 global patent families (containing 60,000 patents in total) filed in the area of corrosion management in the last decade were reviewed as a guide to trends in corrosion technology. Annual patent filings grew from around 1500 to around 2,000 per year over this decade. However this growth in patent filings hide a significant fall in patent families from Japanese applicants, and an even larger rise in patent filings from Chinese applicants. Applicants from South Korea, the US and Germany were also prolific filers, with applicants from the US and Germany most likely to file patents outside of their home countries. This was much less likely with Chinese, South Korean or Japanese applicants.

The most active technology area for patent filings was anti-corrosion paints, followed by galvanising and multilayer coatings. Anti-corrosion paints were also the fastest growing area.

Only about 5% of these patent families had Australian family members, and only 31 families in total originated in Australia, which is a lower proportion than we have seen in some other technologies. The leading applicant filing into Australia was Henkel of Germany, followed by Nippon Steel and PPG Industries of the US. Overall, there appears to be healthy global activity in the patenting of corrosion technologies which is likely to reflect R&D of new inventions in corrosion treatments. However, very little of this patenting activity appears to be happening in Australia.

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