Groundbreaking U.N. Study on Artificial Intelligence lists IBM and Microsoft as top AI inventors

Groundbreaking U.N. Study on Artificial Intelligence lists IBM and Microsoft as top AI inventors

U.N. World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) released its study on Artificial Intelligence-based inventions as a part of its first “Technology Trends” report.

The companies and academic institutions from United States, China, and Japan lead the AI inventions around the world.

Executive Opinion

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry, noted, “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 techniques that will alter our daily lives – and also shape future human interaction with the machines we created.”

“AI’s ramifications for the future of human development are profound. The first step in maximizing the widespread benefit of AI, while addressing ethical, legal and regulatory challenges, is to create a common factual basis for the understanding of artificial intelligence. In unveiling the first in our “WIPO Technology Trends” series, WIPO is pleased to contribute evidence-based projections, thereby informing global policymaking on the future of AI, its governance and the IP framework that supports it,” said Mr. Gurry.

Study Findings

With 8,290 inventions at the end of 2016, IBM (International Business Machines, United States) had the largest portfolio of AI patent applications. Microsoft (United States) followed IBM in the ranking with 5,930  AI patent applications.

Other top players are Toshiba from Japan with 5,223 AI patent applications, Samsung from the Republic of Korea with 5,102 AI patent applications and NEC Group from Japan with 4,406  AI patent applications.

Chinese academic institutions account for 17 of the top 20 AI patents and 10 out of 20 AI specific publications.

Among the AI technologies, deep learning witnessed highest growth 20-times increase in patent applications.  Since 2013, the deep learning techniques patent applications increased from 118 to 2,399 in 2016 with 175 percent average annual growth rate.

The use case of computer vision is the most popular AI application. Other AI applications and use cases stood out are autonomous vehicles in transportation, improving networks in the telecommunications field, robotic surgery, drug personalization in life & medical science field and personal devices where computing and human-computer interaction is required.

The U.N. study looked into 340,000 AI-related patent applications and 1.6 million scientific papers published since AI first emerged in the 1950s and majority of AI-related patent filings published since 2013.

Below is the link to the recorded press conference,


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Mandar is a seasoned software professional for more than a decade. He is Cloud, AI, IoT, Blockchain and Fintech enthusiast. He writes to benefit others from his experiences. His overall goal is to help people learn about the Cloud, AI, IoT, Blockchain and Fintech and the effects they will have economically and socially in the future.

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