How Investments in Battery Technology Will Power Our Future

March 3, 2017 Tara Klamrowski

What do cars, solar farms, smart watches and new homes all have in common? All increasingly run on batteries. The devices we rely on to power our digital lives–laptops, smartphones and tablets–would not exist if it were not for battery technology. 

While companies like automaker Tesla are leading innovation with battery-powered cars and home units (the “Powerwall”), the underlying technology has not advanced much from the current standard, the lithium ion battery. The problems with lithium ion batteries are many: they lose their ability to charge over time, they generate heat and can even explode.

Accordingly, currently there is a lot of funding being poured into developing better battery technology. Many companies are seeking to protect their heavy investments in R&D through the patent process. In fact, Tesla was recently awarded a patent on metal-air battery technology, which could improve the range of their automobiles.

Tesla’s patent is part of art unit 1721, Radiation Imagery Chemistry: Process, Composition or Product Thereof. While it may seem odd that this would be the art unit of choice for a battery instead of the more straightforward 1757, “Batteries,” the allowance rates for each art unit could provide a clue. While art unit 1757 has a low rate of 21.2%, art unit 1721 has a much more generous allowance rate of 75.7%. This difference illustrates how selecting an art unit could have a huge impact on whether an application will eventually make it to allowance, and may prompt an applicant to research alternative art units.  

Other art units that are popular for battery technologies are 2859 Horology (time, watches, timekeeping) with a 75.2% allowance rate, and 1726 Chemistry: Electrical Producing Apparatuses, Products and Processes, with a 68% allowance rate. These high allowance art units could offer applicants with battery inventions better choices for increasing their application’s likelihood of allowance.

In order to find the highest allowance art units, companies looking to pursue protection for new battery technologies can leverage patent analytics. LexisNexis® offers attorneys an array of patent analytics tools that help identify the best art units for their patent applications.

LexisNexis PathWays® can help you draft your patent application so you maximize your chance of landing in a high allowance art unit. Using predictive analytics, PathWays takes the words from your patent application and returns the art units and their allowance rates where your application is likely to land. Users can view word clusters, create search queries and study art unit statistics in order to draft applications that align with the unit that offers the best chance of allowance.

Once you file your application, LexisNexis PatentAdvisor® can help you identify the best prosecution path to allowance. View analytics on your patent examiner, like office action rates, allowance rates, interview success rates and more to identify trends and patterns that can improve your patent prosecution outcomes.

These are just two of the many ways LexisNexis is helping companies protect future innovations like the world’s next generation of batteries. To learn more about how LexisNexis/Reed Tech can support you at every step of the patent workflow click here.

 

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