China leads the world in the number of graphene technology patent applications, according to a recent report.
The 2016 Report on Global Patents in the Graphene Industry, jointly released on Jan 29 by the Jiangsu Graphene Industry Intellectual Property Alliance and Changzhou-based Jiangnan Graphene Research Institute analyzed global and domestic technologies in graphene materials and application.
The report recognized 40,344 graphene technology patents worldwide, 17,702 of which are held by China.
"The number of patent applications in the graphene industry is very high, and the competition is growing," said Bao Ningzhong, executive director of the Jiangnan Graphene Research Institute.
Graphene is a form of carbon in a two-dimensional, honeycomb lattice. It has many extraordinary properties, such as super hardness, and is about 100 times stronger than the strongest steel. It also can conduct heat and electricity efficiently.
It is widely used in the semiconductor, electronics, battery and composites industries. The report predicts the global market for graphene will be nearly $300 million by 2020.
"A currently pressing challenge is how to speed up China's global layout of the core technologies for graphene to improve the nation's market competitiveness," said Li Shishou, deputy director of the Jiangnan Graphene Research Institute.
He added that the focus should be on patents for advanced technologies and applied technologies.
The report also highlighted the development status of graphene technologies in various fields.
One of the most important functions of the report is to help more graphene enterprises comprehend the latest in industry developments, understand technological developments and look at patent applications from competitors, and avoid the existing patent barriers, said Bao.