It is pointed out that Korea has to become more active about the development of electric car charging technology in order to preempt the future electric car market amid fierce competition for technology development among countries.
According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office on December 11, there have been a total of 7,799 electric vehicle-related technology patent applications (except for those of patents for technology for electric vehicle parts) were filed in Korea over the last 10 years (2007-2016).
Application cases rose from 202 cases in 2007 to 1002 cases in 2011, chalking up an average annual increase of 49.2% during this period. Afterwards, due to a global economic downturn, application cases slowed down from 981 in 2012 to 719 in 2013 and then increased to 879 in 2014, rising to 1012 in 2015 and 1271 in 2016, recording an annual average of 20.9%. This means that the growth of the electric car market paralleled the increase in domestic patent applications.
According to market researcher Bloomberg, sales of electric cars increased more than 30% each year from 300,000 units in 2014 and are expected to exceed 1 million units for the first time this year.
Unlike current gasoline and diesel vehicles, charging time and charging convenience play as major variables in purchasing Electric vehicles. In this regard, required are high voltage safety, an improvement in charging speed, the reduction of charging time and the efficient operation of surplus power. Charging technology affects the formation of the electric car market as much as electric car technology itself.
However, contrary to the fact that countries around the world compete for the development of better technology, Korea has an calm atmosphere. Over the last 10 years (2007 ~ 2016), a total of 2,098 electric vehicle charging technology patents were filed in Korea. Over the past three years (2014-2016), Koreans’ patent applications for charging technology decreased from 297 cases to 137 cases, while those by foreigners climbed from 66 cases to 93 cases in the same period. Foreigners’ share increased from 18.2% to 40.4% during this period. By contrast, in the same period, foreigners’ patent applications accounted for the early part of the 20% level of entire electric car patent applications.
In particular, much attention is also paid to the fact that not only automakers but global electronic communication companies such as GE and Qualcomm are actively filing domestic patent applications. Competition in the electric car charging market is expected to change with entries by companies with much experience in patent disputes.
"The automobile industry electronics and telecommunication industry should actively cooperate and prepare for competition to dominate the electric car market by securing a strong patent competitiveness in the electric car charging technology field," said Yoo Jun, head of the Department of Automotive Convergence Examination at the Korean Intellectual Property Office.