A new study published today reveals the global patenting trends in cosmonautics – showing how different actors both public and private are driving forward innovations in areas like propulsion, systems control and onboard power.
When the first man went into orbit sixty years ago, space technologies were the exclusive domain of just a few state organisations. Now space technologies are booming like never before. Commercial revenues from satellite launches are up over 50% in the last decade. The influx of private capital has been a factor in an astonishing increase in patent filing activity, up threefold or more in the period 2007 to 2017. Much of the increase from European operators has come from Germany and France – and of these some 85% of the patents are owned by private companies. Meanwhile patent filings from China have surged from almost zero a decade ago to account for over 50% of all patent families in 2018.
This study, conducted by the European Patent Office and the European Space Policy Institute (ESPI) in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA), investigates the major patent filing trends in space technologies. The patent analysis includes rankings of spacefaring countries and league tables of large and small industries, private and public organisations. With its extensive charts and commentary the report is useful to technologists, companies and investors wanting to better understand these rapidly expanding technology domains.