Nikkei partnered with Tokyo research company Patent Result to analyze solid-state battery patent applications submitted to the World Intellectual Property Organization and another group. The study looked at applications turned in between 2000 through the end of March from 10 countries and territories.
The study found that Toyota Motor is by far the leading holder of solid-state battery patents with 1,331 known patents. Panasonic Holdings is a distant second with 445 patents. Idemitsu Kosan holds 272 patents.
Fourth-place Samsung Electronics was the only non-Japanese company to enter the top five. Overall, Japanese companies occupied six of the top 10 rankings.
Toyota, which has researched solid-state batteries since the 1990s, holds patents in a wide range of applications, including battery structure, material and manufacturing processes, the study found. Idemitsu holds patents mainly in metallic materials for solid-state batteries.
Between 2016 and 2020, Toyota increased patents related to solid-state batteries by roughly 40%. During that same span, Samsung more than doubled its patents, while LG Chem tripled its count.
The South Korean companies possess numerous patents directly concerning real-world performance, such as the life span of batteries, according to the study.