Type de publication:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, São Paulo (2018)


This work aims to analyse a relational structure of patents in automotive sector, especially for electric vehicles. The automotive industry is equivalent to 22% of Brazil's industrial gross domestic product (GDP), 4% of Brazil's total GDP, and worldwide it should reach a mark of 100 million vehicles sold by 2020. In recent decades, innovation processes have become a matter of survival for companies. Resource Based View admits that companies are looking for strategic resources that are a source of competitive advantage. This work comprises the automotive market as an organizational field in which the actors struggle to reach more favourable positions from the available resources. The network approach was used together with patent analysis to highlight the existing relationships within this industry in the construction of innovation, through the analysis of patents of high commercial value in the automotive sector, collected through the Derwent database. Firstly, for data collection, a search term was defined that included patents with international patent code (IPC) B60 (referring to vehicles in general), but limiting those registered simultaneously in the American, European, Japanese and Chinese patent offices (called tetradic patents, with high commercial value). This search selected patents that had their main information (such as title, abstract, cited patents, authors and depositors and date of first deposit) extracted and analysed with the help of Vantage point software. The number of tetradic patents deposited annually for the period from 1995 to 2014 in the automotive sector was raised. There has been a steady increase in the number of patents filed annually. A special move takes place in 2009 and 2010, the only years in which the number of tetradic patents in the automotive sector has not grown. This movement also accompanies the general trend of patent growth, which has receded in recent years as a reflection of the economic crisis of 2008. For a better understanding of the sector, these patents were analysed by each patent group, that is, the IPCs were analysed up to their maximum level of division. By the analysis of the incidence of patents by specific IPCs, the predominance of groups related to the electric and hybrid vehicles theme was identified. It was also analysed how these IPCs related. This was done in order to better understand the groupings between these IPCs, in order to explain which groups of IPCs deal with the same issues. Each patent may use one or more IPCs in its registry. Thus, each time different IPCs were cited in the same patent, a link was registered between them. In addition to understanding the thematic areas of innovation in the sector, this study intends to understand how the technological domain of the sector is given. In this sense it is fundamental to carry out the survey of who are the depositors of these tetradic patents of the sector. The data make clear the dominance exercised by Toyota, both in the term of twenty years and in the last five years. The Bosch auto parts industry also has a large number of tetradic patents at IPC B60. It was also seen the position of Nissan, which has significant number of patents deposited in the last five years. Of the twenty first companies, nineteen are traditional in the automotive sector, being either vehicle assemblers, auto parts and accessories industry or tire factories. It is noteworthy the case of Panasonic, the home appliance, electronics and electrical components company that designs itself in the automotive sector. The lack of other companies outside the automotive sector can be partially explained by the patent search criteria. When looking for patents with high commercial value, in detriment of patents with high technical value, those that are already consolidated in the market are valued, not those that are in the technical development stage of innovation. This choice is based on the need for value generated as an indispensable element of innovation. These companies have different competitive strategies for innovation. It is necessary to understand which technologies are included in the strategies of each company. Again, Toyota's dominance over other companies in the sector is observed. Toyota is leading global vehicle sales as well as hybrid vehicles and was also the pioneer in the segment of cars powered by hydrogen fuel cell power. It is not surprising, therefore, that it also leads the technological development of ICPs related to electric and hybrid vehicles. Nissan shows balance between electric and hybrid vehicles, and has a good number of patents on anti-collision systems. Honda, Renault and Peugeot Citroen follow similar behaviour, but with smaller numbers. The Mitsubishi automaker has a higher inclination for fully electric vehicles. Volkswagen, Daimler Chrysler and BMW have their most concentrated patents on electrical accessories. Among the industries of auto parts and accessories, it is noted that the company Bosch has in addition to its expected development in electrical accessories and anti-collision systems, great relevance in the development of electric and hybrid cars. The same does not happen with the company Sumitomo, which focuses its patents on electrical accessories and tire composition. Panasonic already shows its almost exclusive focus on the market for fully electric cars. As a conclusion, the subject of electric and hybrid vehicles has become a dominant feature in the industry, with Toyota, Bosch and Nissan dominating the total number of patents, and organizing themselves in groups that gravitate around themselves by sharing patents only with companies that have strong commercial links, in particular cross-shareholding, joint ventures or formal strategic alliances.

Copyright© Gerpisa
Concéption Tommaso Pardi
Administration Géry Deffontaines

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