September 15, 2022
Data and commentary provided by Mathys & Squire has featured in articles by The Manufacturer and The Patent Lawyer, providing an update on the rapid growth in drone patents that have been granted in recent years.
An extended version of the press release is available below.
Patents granted for drones worldwide have increased by 39% to 4,876 in the past year*, shows new research by leading intellectual property law firm Mathys & Squire. The figure is up from 3,511 in the previous year and up three-fold from just 446 patents five years ago.
Mathys & Squire says the global drone market is dominated by China. Of the patents granted in 2021, 3,262 (67%) belong to Chinese companies and research institutions. The US trails in second place, with 751 drone-related patents granted in 2021 – 15% of the global total.
Drone technology is being employed across a growing list of sectors, including agriculture, construction, energy, news reporting and delivery of emergency medicine and supplies.
The commercial drone market is predicted to be worth $47 billion by 2029, while estimates suggest the military market could be worth $98 billion by the end of the current decade*. While some of the expected applications in the commercial drone market (such as home delivery services, including fast-food!) have yet to fully materialise, new commercial uses for drones are constantly being developed.
Manufacturers are competing to corner as much of this rapidly growing market as they can by registering patents to protect their often considerable R&D investments.
Andrew White, Partner at Mathys & Squire says: “Drones are increasingly becoming part of everyday life, yet the strong growth in new patents suggests their full potential is still to be realised.”
“Drones are set to play a major role in the global economy in the 21st century. IP in this area is extremely valuable and therefore likely to be hotly contested in the coming years. Companies are spending considerable sums on drone research and will want that investment to be protected with patents.”
Patents related to drone technology granted last year include:
*Year ending December 31 2021, Source: World Intellectual Property Organisation**Source: Fortune Business Insights***Source: Teal Group
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