Report: Patent Board says automakers bringing tech development in-house

An increase of automaker patent in the past recent years shows how car makers’ technology development is returning in-house. Accord to a U.S. patent expert, the Patent Board, which tracks innovation and patents in 17 industries worldwide, ranked 5 automakers in the top 10 companies in its 2011 automotive and transportation industry segment.

General Motors took the top spot with 1,123 U.S. patent granted for global product and global power train engineering, global R&D and OnStar related innovations.

“In the past, auto companies moved a lot of the system development to suppliers so you saw the suppliers ranked a lot higher,” said Karl Wilhelm, president of the Patent Board. “In the last two or three years, the auto companies have been pretty strapped and took development into their own hands. You’re going to see them step up and be a lot more in the lead now.”

Other automakers in the top 10 include Toyota at No. 2 with 1,111 patents; Honda at No. 3 with 1,049; Ford at No. 7 with 439 and Nissan at No. 10 with 267.

– By: Omar Rana

Source: AutoNews