Each week, Railway Technology journalists analyse data on patent filings and grants that illustrate innovation trends in our sector. These patent signals show where the leading companies are focusing their research and development investment and why. We uncover key innovation areas in the sector and the themes that drive them.  

This new thematic patents coverage is powered by our underlying Disruptor data which tracks all major deals, patents, company filings, hiring patterns and social media buzz across our sectors.  

In this first edition of Patents signal, we take a look back at the past two decades of patent growth in the Transport sector to understand the competitive playing field the industry now occupies. 

Globaldata’s Disruptor tool has been tracking patents across the various transport industries for two decades, recording its steady growth. 

In 2003, only 5,072 patent applications were filed across the sector and of those, only 2,344 were granted.

Fast forward ten years and the sector’s global growth is clear – but not unexpected. With 8,161 patent files in 2013, 5,453 were accepted. 

But the popularity of patents across the sector has accelerated into the 2020s, even maintaining increases during the global pandemic years. 

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Although 2020 might have been a difficult year for most of the transport sector, innovation was clearly at the forefront of industry minds, as more than 10,000 patents were granted for the first time in a calendar year. 

Three years later, it is clear the innovations market is as competitive as ticket booking.