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UK ‘falling behind’ in global graphene race

Research from UK firm CambridgeIP shows that most research into the wonder material graphene, and the resulting patents, are now going abroad.

The latest figures show how intense worldwide competition has become, with China leading the field as the country with the most patents, and Korean electronics giant Samsung the company with the most to its name.

The figures show how Britain, which pioneered research into graphene, may be falling behind its rivals.

According to CambridgeIP, there were 7,351 graphene patents and patent applications across the world by the end of 2012.

Of that total, Chinese institutions and corporations had the most with 2,200, followed closely by the US, which registered 1,754.

The UK, which kickstarted the original research into graphene back in 2004, registered only 54.

Quentin Tannock, the chairman of CambridgeIP, told the BBC: "Britain has got a reputation for being very canny, having very good inventors, so the race isn't over. But my concern is that in Britain there isn't an appreciation of just how competitive the race for value in graphene is internationally and just how focused and well resourced how competitors are.

"And that leads to a risk that we might under invest in graphene as an area and that therefore we might look back in 20 years' time with hindsight and say 'that was wonderful, we got a lot of value, but we didn't get as much as we should have done'."

Laura Hopperton

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