Who owns the smart grid patents?

J. Hurtado-Albir, G. Ceccarini, V. Veefkind
European Patent Office, DE

Keywords: smart grids, patents, searching, IP


During 2012 the European Patent Office (EPO) will launch a new tool easing the access to patent information relating to smart grids. This new classification system, called Y04S, has been drawn up in cooperation with the Standards Organisation of IEEE. It makes smart grid patents worldwide searchable in considerable detail and the system allows both search for specific patents but also statistical analysis for policy making. Y04S gathers 91 different classification entries, covering the full smart grids spectrum (from remote control of power generators to marketing). The patents considered are world-wide, not merely the European patents. The classified patents are easily retrievable via Espacenet, a patent search engine freely accessible via the EPO website. Additionally, Y04S presents an intersection with the EPO parallel classification system on Climate Change Mitigation technologies, Y02. We will explain how Y04S is organised and the rationale behind it, with particular emphasis on its interaction with Y02, aiming to analyse the role of the smart grids as enabling technology in the area of climate change mitigation. Graphic overviews for patenting in the smart-grids sector will be provided, showing, for instance, ownership, geographical distribution, trend evolution and penetration or weight as climate change mitigation technology.