A wave of oncoming smart energy technology could be about to make the worlds electricity infrastructure more efficient, however it relies on standardized technology such as 4G, 5G or Wi-Fi, which are subject to thousands of standard essential patents (SEPs). This has wide-reaching implications for the energy industry implementing these standards as well as for the standards developers and owners of relevant patents and SEPs.

The demand for electricity, and for energy more broadly, has grown rapidly over the last century, and consequently, so has the price. Therefore, there is a clear imperative for the efficient use of electricity. One solution to overcome the challenge of increasing demand is smart energy technologies, this refers to so-called ‘intelligent technologies’ that improve efficiency in the areas of energy conversion, generation, storage, transmission and consumption. Innovations in this area tend to focus on sustainable and renewable energy sources while driving down costs. Smart energy applications heavily rely on standardized technologies such as cellular standards (4G and 5G) as well as wireless standards such as Wi-Fi. To analyze smart energy technologies, we therefore considered worldwide patent data as well as self-declared SEPs and standards contribution data. This allows us to identify the companies that develop smart energy-related standards, as well as companies that own essential patent assets for those standards and companies that file patents on smart energy technologies that use the standards.

In this report the authors analyze submitted standards contributions, the number of patent families, as well as the number of self-declared SEP families per company that describe smart energy technologies as the success and adoption of smart energy depends on the technology leaders, who will develop devices, chips, networks, applications, services, sensors and connectivity standards to realize the first use cases of smart energy. As electricity supply and consumption becomes increasingly expensive, advances in the smart energy sector need to be made. These achievements can not only reduce costs but can also lead to a reduction in CO2 emissions and make a meaningful contribution to combatting climate change.

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