Asian Countries Rake in Graphene Patents
Institutions around the world have racked up patents for graphene over the past year, a new report found. East Asian companies and universities top the list of those who are readying themselves to make money off the nanotechnology, the BBC reported.
Graphene, discovered only in 2004, is made up of a single layer of carbon atoms. It carries electrons faster than any other material and is strong, flexible and translucent. Its unique properties could make it an essential part of faster, smaller electronics in the future.
Right now, however, electronics made with graphene are still just early prototypes in labs. Institutions holding patents may not get the chance to flex them until more than a decade down the line.
Patent filings for graphene picked up after 2007, while 2012 saw another spike, according to a report from Cambridge IP, a U.K.-based patent consulting company. Chinese groups now have 2,204 granted or pending patents, the most of any country. The United States is second on the list, with 1,754, and South Korea is third, with 1,160.
The top-filing company on the list was South Korea-based Samsung, while the top-filing research institute was South Korea's Sungkyunkwan University.
Cambridge IP researchers expect graphene to continue to generate many patents in the future, because the industries that would want to use the material rely heavily on patenting.
Sources: BBC News