Worldwide 31 Oct 2019

The Patent work of the Nobel laureate in chemistry

The Japanese chemist, Dr Akira Yoshino, one of this year’s three* laureates of the Nobel Prize in chemistry, was born in 1948 in Suita in northern part of Osaka. He is one of the creators behind the invention of the first safe, produce-viable and modern lithium-ion battery. His revolutionary technology is today widely used all over the world via smartphones, laptops and electric vehicles. 

Yoshino filed a patent application in 1983 for the modern and modified lithium-ion battery as we know it today, and is currently the inventor of 56 Japanese and 6 European Patents, IP-rights that have helped to protect his solutions. The company Yoshino works for since the 1970s; Asahi Kasei, had until 2016, 17% of the global market share for lithium-ion battery separators. The worldwide market for lithium-ion batteries was estimated at €26,5 billion in 2017, and is expected to reach over €80 billion in the year 2025. 

Earlier this year, Akira Yoshino became a winner of the European Inventor Award. The EIA is annually awarded to both individual inventors and teams of inventors by the EPO (the European Patent Office), to honour and give them the recognition they deserve. 

The Nobel Prize in chemistry is given to Yoshino for his work with the modern lithium-ion battery. However, many inventors had before him been working on similar solutions. For instance, the American Wilson Greatbatch conformed the battery and in the early 1970s introduced his idea to pacemaker developers. Greatbatch’s invention made the pacemaker reliable and it had very low self-discharge. This revolutionary battery evolution had a great impact on cardiac patients all over the world, since they now needed only one pacemaker device throughout their lives. 

During the 1970s, Groth & Co filed in about 30 patent applications in Sweden for Greatbatch and his company, most of them related to the lithium-ion battery and the pacemaker. For more information please visit our digital museum>

*The three Nobel Prize laureates in chemistry, are John B Goodenough, M Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino. All of them receives the Prize for the development of the lithium-ion battery.

Photo: European Patent Office

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