Number of Chinese AI Patents Surpasses US Ones By 2.5x

According to Japanese financial news Nikkei, Chinese companies have surpassed U.S. companies on a Nikkei ranking of the top 50 patent filers for artificial intelligence (AI) over the past three years, expanding their presence in the global tech field.

Although U.S. companies maintained the top three spots on the rankings, China had a total of 19 companies file for patents throughout the three year span between 2016 and 2018, a 2.5x increase compared to the 8 companies it had in the previous three-year span. The U.S., on the other hand, only had 12 companies file for patents throughout the same period (2016-2018).

Baidu AI conference (Source: Baidu)

Internet and tech giant Baidu led all Chinese companies with 1,522 filings, soaring to fourth place up from 11th. Other top Chinese firms included State Grid Corp. in sixth place with 1,173, and Tencent climbed to eighth from 20th with 766.

China has filed more than 30,000 public patents for AI in 2018, a roughly ten-fold jump in five years and about 2.5 times more than the US, which it surpassed for the lead in 2015.

According to Nikkei, the ranking was produced with publicly available data from the American, Chinese, European and Japanese patent offices as well as the WIPO. Research company Patent Result was also reported to have assisted in the survey.

The World Intellectual Property Organization released its first report on AI patents on Jan. 31, documenting the history and key moments in AI patent filings. The U.S. and Japan dominated the industry from 1950 through 2016, but China greatly increased its applications this decade and has surpassed both countries in recent years.

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry presents ground-breaking report on AI innovation to journalists in Geneva.
WIPO Director General Francis Gurry presents ground-breaking report on AI innovation to journalists in Geneva. (Photo: WIPO/Berrod)

According to WIPO, Chinese organizations account for 3 of the 4 academic players featuring in the top 30 patent applicants, with the Chinese Academy of Sciences ranking 17th with over 2,500 patent families. Among academic players, Chinese organizations account for 17 of the top 20 academic players in AI patenting as well as 10 of the top 20 in AI-related scientific publications.

Featured photo credit to Reuters