E.I. du Pont is leading the hydraulic fracturing (HF) patent race by one measure. So far, in 2010-2011, a total of 41 U.S. patents have issued wherein "hydraulic fracturing" is mentioned in the patent abstract (one lead indicator for relevant HF patents). Du Pont has the largest number of these patents, 11. The second place company is Schlumberger Technology Corp. which has 8. In third place is Baker Hughes (7), and next is BJ Services (5). No other company has more than two patents. Clearly, patenting in this area is concentrated in select companies. Only one university received a patent (Stanford).
The HF patenting rate is increasing rapidly. Whereas, since 2004, typically 10 -13 patents issue per year, in 2010, 33 issued. So far, in 2011, the number of patents has already exceeded 25 and is projected to again surpass that of prior years.
Click here to see graph "Rise in Hydraulic Fracturing Patenting"