December 10 is Nobel Prize Day, the day on which Nobel Prize laureates are awarded their medals by the Royal Swedish Academy in Stockholm, Sweden. On behalf of the USPTO, I congratulate this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry winners John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham, and Akira Yoshino. These inventors have made valuable contributions in the field of electro-chemistry, leading to the development of lithium-ion batteries.
This year’s Nobel Prize winners are truly among the most deserving giants of the scientific and inventive worlds. Their journeys of innovation inspire and awe us. By unlocking some of the fundamental mysteries of electro-chemistry over the past decades, they have transformed and improved our world by empowering us as well as many of the things we rely on every day, including our smartphones, pacemakers, and even orbital satellites.
As the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences stated in its press release for this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry, the invention of lithium-ion batteries has created the conditions for a “wireless and fossil fuel-free society” and thus provided a significant benefit to humankind. And we look forward to even more innovations in the future that build on the foundations that Goodenough, Whittingham, and Yoshino have laid.
The 2019 Nobel Prize recipients hold prominent academic and corporate positions. Goodenough is the Virginia H. Cockrell Centennial Chair in Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. To commemorate his extraordinary career, the USPTO honored him with an inventor collectible card in 2018. Whittingham is a distinguished professor at Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York. Yoshino is a fellow of the Ashahi Kasei Corporation and a professor at Meijo University in Nagoya, Japan.
Each of the three winners are also accomplished inventors and owners of U.S. and international patents. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which awards the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, cited U.S. patent nos. 4,357,215 (fast ion conductors) and 4,668,595 (secondary battery) in the Scientific Background on the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2019. Goodenough was the primary inventor on the former patent, and Yoshino on the latter. In total, Goodenough is listed as an inventor on 27 U.S. patents, Whittingham on 17 U.S. patents, and Yoshino on 83 U.S. patents.
The USPTO celebrates the accomplishments of these three remarkable inventors, as well as all inventors who, thorough their creativity and persistence, make the world a better place.