October 7, 2022
Unit-927, JMD Megapolis, Gurugram
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Part 3 | Patent Trend Analysis, E-Cigarette

PATENT FILING & PUBLICATION TRENDS

Insights Related to Patent Filing:

A prominent rise in filing can be seen from 2013 onwards when one of the first Bluetooth connected e-cigarette was developed and marketed by Smokio. Other brands including Nu-mark (an Altria subsidiary), Nicoventure, Fontem Holdings and PAX labs, have also increased their filings since 2013.

Nerudia, a nicotine products manufacturing company, has filed the highest number of patents in 2019. In 2017, Nerudia was acquired by Imperial Brands, which also owns other prominent e-vapour brands such as Fontem Ventures and Lorillard Tobacco.

Insights Related to Patent Publication:

  • The domain had a slight and steady growth since the 1990s, however, exponential rise in publications can be observed from 2014 onwards, with the rapid expansion of the market and emergence of new players from 2010 onwards.
  • As the domain observed a maximum number of filings in the year 2019, it becomes obvious for 2020 to become the year with maximum publications.

GEOGRAPHICAL GROWTH TREND YOY

Insights:

  • USA being the most prominent centre of innovation in the field of electronic cigarettes, also shows a higher patent filing.
  • The filing trend of past five years also shows that both China and USA have equally active in patent filings, followed by Europe (mostly UK).

British American Tobacco is one of the first tobacco companies to enter the e-cigarette market. The brand has invested heavily in the domain to develop the most diverse Next Generation Products (NGP) portfolio, while acquiring major e-cig brands such as  Reynolds American Inc., making it one of the leading NGPs manufacturer globally.

Great Britain has been increasingly active in its filings in recent years, with emerging start-ups like AYR, and established tobacco companies like British American Tobacco taking over the domain.

The graph below represents Priority country wise filing trend

Great Britain has been increasingly active in its filings in recent years, with emerging start-ups like AYR, and established tobacco companies like British American Tobacco taking over the domain.

COUNTRY-WISE MAPPING OF MAJOR INNOVATORS

Lunatech - 51
Rai Strategic Holdings- 38
JUUL Labs- 24
Fontem Holdings- 12
Altria Group- 10

Huizhou Kimree Technology - 29
Relx Technology- 13
Changzhou Patent Electronic Technology- 12
Smoore Technology- 08
JoyeTech- 07

Japan Tobacco- 39

Nerudia - 546
Philip Morris- 26
Smokeless.world- 03

Korea Tobacco & Ginseng Corporation (KT&G) - 36
Ebaco- 08
CrucialTec- 04

PROMINENT MARKET HUBS

  • China and USA have witnessed the highest focus from the top players in the domain. China is the biggest tobacco market globally. The increasing awareness of e-cigarettes as a substitute for tobacco products makes China the most prominent market, due to the high number of smokers in the region. Although, the adoption of vapes in the region is considerably low, the region shows enormous potential for growth in coming years.
  • In USA, the growing popularity of e-cigarettes specially among the younger generations is expected to create the market for the domain.
  • Europe is also picking pace with US and China, due to the increasing adoption of e-cigarettes as a substitute for traditional smoking products.
  • Japan and Korea have also been witnessing a growing attention of investors and manufacturers due to the popularity of heat-not burn products and other tobacco alternatives, not containing nicotine, among adolescents in the region. The legalization of only nicotine-free products in Japan has created a demand in the region that is propelling the e-cigarette market.
  • Interestingly, Canada has emerged as a major market for e-cigarettes, even though it hasn’t got much any attention in innovation and R&D. The legalization of sales and purchase of vape product (even those containing nicotine) in the region could be a major reason for the growing potential e-cigarette market in Canada.

TOP INVENTORS

John Cameron is the founder of California based start-up LunaTech, which had filed nearly 100 patent applications during 2016-2019. [Link] John Cameron was earlier the Founder and CEO of Vaporcade, the developer of first cellular vaping device.

Insights:

  • The most common and focused IPC is A24F representing – SMOKERS’ REQUISITES &  SIMULATED SMOKING DEVICES (inhaling appliances for medical purposes, shaped like cigars, cigarettes or pipes), followed by DEVICES FOR INTRODUCING MEDIA INTO, OR ONTO, THE BODY such as atomising devices for medical use (A61M)
  • vAs the study was focused on digital services related to e-cigarette, most assignees have also focused on ELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING (G06F), WIRELESS COMMUNICATION NETWORKS (H04W) and TRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION (H04L) – all classes representing digital data and communication techniques.

TOP PATENT CLASSIFICATIONS

Insights:

  • The top inventors – John Cameron takes priority from US, while Patrick Moloney takes priority from DE (Germany).
  • The top three inventors have patents filed after 2016, which can also be seen by the increased filing trend in the past five years. From this, the growth in the Research & Development of the domain can also be anticipated in past few years that shows that the domain is budding right now.

KEY PATENTS

US20140190496:

Injet Digital Aerosols, also called Vapotronics is a healthcare based company that develops electronic inhalation devices. The patent application also focuses on an aerosol dispenser which can be used to deliver nicotine, and thereby act as a cigarette substitute.

US9095175:

The patent is jointly held by Fontem Holdings, a subsidiary of British American Tobacco and LOEC Inc. (or commonly known as Blu ecigs), a brand owned by Lorillard Inc. In 2014, Imperial Brands subsidiary Reynolds acquired Lorillard.

US8402976:

The patent has been filed by – Yunqiang Xiu and discloses an electronic simulation cigarette for helping users quit smoking. Dr. Yunqiang Xiu was the director of the company Eigarette, and an innovator of ‘quit smoking products’ or ‘new generation smoking products’

  • The top cited patents show a diverse range of assignee with Philip Morris and Fontem Ventures showing a significant presence.
  • However, a majority of the assignees in the top cited patents are subsidiaries of tobacco and cigarette manufacturing giants – British  American Tobacco, Imperial Brands and Altria, suggesting the strong presence of tobacco and cigarette manufacturers in the segment.
  • Altria’s subsidiary Philip Morris is one of the most active and prominent assignee in highest cited patents, followed by British American Tobacco’s subsidiary Fontem Holdings. Reynolds American Inc. (RAI) is also a subsidiary of British American Tobacco.

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