Canada has become recognized as a world leader in Artificial Intelligence (AI). As part of its Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy, the Government of Canada rightly celebrates that:
• researchers at the University of Alberta rank #2 worldwide in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning;
• Montreal has the highest concentration of researchers and students of deep learning in the world, with almost 9000 students in AI and related programs; and
• Toronto has the highest concentration of AI start-ups in the world.
But there is healthy competition. In their wide-ranging report, “WIPO Technology Trends 2019: Artificial Intelligence”, the World Intellectual Property Office identifies international key players in AI from both the corporate and public sectors across different research areas and industries. In addition, as well as describing how the patent landscape has changed, it includes contributions from AI experts from across the globe, addressing issues such as existing and potential uses and impact of AI technology, legal and regulatory questions, data protection and ethical concerns.
Key Points on AI Patenting from the WIPO Report
Since artificial intelligence emerged in the 1950s, innovators and researchers have filed applications for nearly 340,000 AI-related inventions and published over 1.6 million scientific publications. Notably, AI-related patenting is growing rapidly: over half of the identified inventions have been published since 2013.
While scientific publications on AI date back decades, the boom in scientific publications on AI only started around 2001, approximately 12 years in advance of an upsurge in patent applications. Moreover, the ratio of scientific papers to inventions has decreased from 8:1 in 2010 to 3:1 in 2016 – indicative of a shift from theoretical research to the use of AI technologies in commercial products and services.
AI-related patents not only disclose AI techniques and applications, they often also refer to an application field or industry. Analysis shows that many sectors and industries are exploring the commercial exploitation of AI. Twenty application fields were identified in the present analysis and at least one was mentioned in 62 percent of the total identified AI patent data. These include, in order of magnitude:
• telecommunications (mentioned in 15 percent of all identified patent documents),
• transportation (15 percent),
• life and medical sciences (12 percent), and
• personal devices, computing and human–computer interaction (HCI) (11 percent).
Other sectors featuring in the results include banking; entertainment; security; industry and manufacturing; agriculture; and networks (including social networks, smart cities and the Internet of things).
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