Over the last few years, we’ve seen artificial intelligence (AI) slowly make its way into our day-to-day lives and become an essential part of some daily tasks. With smart speaker sales reported to have reached 146.9 million in 2019, devices such as the Amazon Alexa are now commonplace, with “Alexa, what’s the weather like today?” and “Alexa, play Spotify” now phrases that are used on a regular basis in homes around the world.
Artificial intelligence is also making its way into activities in ways we may have once thought impossible, with Tesla just one of many companies that are developing self-driving cars using AI, which will revolutionize the way in which we travel even the shortest of distances. As a result of such advancements, the industry is booming, and it’s predicted that the AI market will be worth over a staggering $118 billion by 2022.
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Patent applications by country
But which companies are leading the way in innovation and pushing the boundaries of technology the most when it comes to AI?
RS Components has analysed nearly 8,000 AI patent applications from the last two years, to reveal which countries and companies are leading the way in the AI race.
With more than 3.3 million patent applications filed worldwide in 2018, there is a never-ending race for companies to patent and protect their new technologies - but when it comes to AI, which patent offices received the most applications?
The top 10 patent offices that received the most AI patents are as follows:
|Rank||Country||Number of patent applications received|
|2||United States of America||1,416|
|3||Republic of Korea||532|
|5||European Patent Office||116|
Looking at the top 10 patent offices, China is racing ahead with the number of patent applications received, with this office receiving a massive 4,636 applications in the last two years. Last year, China overtook the USA to become the world’s most prolific patent filer, highlighting the nation’s push for innovation and advancements in technology as a whole, not just AI. With the Republic of Korea, India, Japan and Singapore also falling inside the top 10, it’s clear that Asia as a whole is now becoming a patent powerhouse. Other recent reports highlight that Asia is now the source of more than half of all patent applications, so this trend looks set to continue for the foreseeable future.
Although China may be leading the way as the patent office that received the most applications, when it comes to the companies in AI, which had applied for the most? The South Korean based LG Electronics is revealed to be leading the way, with the company applying for 731 patents in the same period, making up almost 10% of all applications. where the applicant name was listed. LG Electronics also made more than double the number of applications of the Chinese Ping An Technology, who follow in second with 308 applications made.
Looking at the products offered by the company, LG Electronics are well on their way to dominating the consumer AI market with their LG ThinQ line of consumer electronics using AI launched in 2017. Created as part of their mission to build an “AI strategy designed to make life easier for customers”, the line includes kitchen appliances, air solutions and their newly announced WashTower, all of which aim to minimise the effort involved in routine tasks.
However, not all of the patents that companies apply for will be granted. The USPTO estimates that approximately 52% of patent applications are granted, so those that apply for the most patents won’t necessarily lead the way in terms of the number of patents granted.
Despite China leading the way for the number of patent applications, it’s US companies that dominate the list of companies that have been granted the most patents. Over the last two years, Intel has raced ahead with 45,591 patents granted, almost 29,000 patents ahead of DataScience.com which follows in second place with 16,749 patents.
However, Intel’s dominance when it comes to AI patents isn’t necessarily surprising, with the company making a $2 billion acquisition of AI chipmaker Habana in late 2019 and announcing that they generated around $3.8 billion in AI revenue in 2019. Although they may have been providing processors and technology to transform the personal computer market for more than 50 years, Intel is still working to meet the never-ending demand for higher levels of processing power, while securing their place as leaders in the AI market.
AI is clearly revolutionizing our daily routines, with smart speakers, smartphones, music streaming services, video games and personal finance apps all utilizing the technology. However, the possibilities and applications for AI are endless, with the technology also being used heavily in industry, with task automation already replacing the need for workers in areas such as garment manufacturing. As such, the AI industry is showing no signs of slowing, with plenty of opportunities for companies to strengthen their position in the space.
Take a look at the full AI Innovators report by RS Components here, where they have used Crunchbase data from January 2018-2020 to reveal which countries and companies are leading the way in applications for artificial intelligence patents, and which companies have had the most patents granted.