Lhe patent applications filed by companies say more than any other indicator about their choices and their research and development (R&D) efforts. Based on registered deposits from 1is July 2018 to June 30, 2019, the 2020 ranking of the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI), published on Tuesday, June 8, confirms the top trio of the previous year. Became Stellantis after its merger with Fiat-Chrysler, PSA comes first, ahead of Safran (aircraft engines) and Valeo (automotive supplier).
It confirms the domination of transport – the automobile in the lead – if we add Renault in fifth place, Airbus (7e), Michelin (8e) and Faurecia (10e). And the concern for more environmentally friendly mobility. A large number of patents relate, in fact, to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (electric, hybrid, hydrogen, fuel cells), but also to the improvement of vehicle safety and aid in the conduct. Or, in aeronautics, on new engines, alternative fuels and lighter materials. These choices are welcome, since transport represents a quarter of CO emissions2, behind the energy.
A sovereignty issue
The other big lesson of the report is the progress of public research: 13 research and higher education establishments appear in the top 50 (against 10 in 2019), in particular the Commissariat à l’énergie atomique and the CNRS, which keep their 4e and 6e places, and IFP Energies nouvelles (15e). It’s a “Encouraging fact”, according to the INPI, which launched the “Alliance PI” program last year to “Perpetuate public-private relations” and “Secure the results of their research”. Coupled with the advances of the Pacte law, which has strengthened the credibility and validity of patents, it will “Facilitate the emergence of numerous French innovations”, hopes the director general of the INPI, Pascal Faure.
In France, fifth country for the number of patents (behind the United States, Germany, Japan and China), SMEs and mid-size companies (mid-size companies) must better protect their innovations by filing trademarks and patents, like GTT, Devialet or Soitec. Multinationals also need to better arm themselves. Innovations condition investments, growth and jobs. They also generate long legal disputes, such as the one between Apple and Samsung for seven years on the subject of the smartphone. Defending one’s inventions is an issue of sovereignty, one weapon among others in the technological war that is now raging.