AI survey finds a huge surge in patents in 5 years, with companies leading the way
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has released its first survey on the state of artificial intelligence. And the gist is that AI has moved rapidly from the theoretical realm to commercial innovation and use. And leading the pack are the U.S. tech giants IBM and Microsoft.
The survey, part of the “WIPO Technology Trends” series of surveys, measures AI innovatiosuns and found more than 340,000 AI-related patent applications and 1.6 million scientific papers published since AI was first imagined back in the 1950s. And most AI patents have been filed since 2013.
“Patenting activity in the artificial intelligence realm is rising at a rapid pace, meaning we can expect a very significant number of new AI-based products, applications and techiques that will alter our daily lives—and also shape future human interaction with the machines we created,” said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry, in a statement released with the survey.
Some of the survey findings:
- AI-related patenting is growing rapidly, with more than half of the identified inventions published since 2013;
- Companies make up 26 of the 30 top AI patent applicants, with universities or public researcj groups accounting for the other four;
- IBM had the largest patent application portfolio, with 8,290 inventions at the end of 2016, followed by Microsoft with 5.930. Asian companies made up the rest of the top five, with Toshiba (5,223). Samsung (5,102) and NEC (4,406);
- Chinese groups constituted three of the four academic players among the top players, with the Chinese Academy of Sciences ranking 17th with more than 2,500 patent filings.
- Machine learning centering on the neural networks that have revolutionized machine learning, is the dominant AI technique in patents. Machine learning, the WIPO says, grew from almost 9,600 applications in 2013 to more than 20,000 in 2016. WIPO said that for comparison sake, the number of patent applications for all technologies grew by only 33 percent over the same period.