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Not a single European company is featured in the top-20 filed AI-centric patents, according to a research carried out by IP specialist OxFirst. Samsung, IBM and Tencent have submitted the most patents in the last ten years.

South Korea, China and the United States dominate the AI research market. Chinese companies registered a total of 105.650 patents, followed by U.S. companies with 60.003 patents. And the European Patent Office is lagging behind with only 5.201 registered patents. Market leader Samsung on its own nearly has the same amount of registered patents as Europe with 5.073 patents.

The patents are mainly filed in interconnectivity and system architecture. According to Oxfirst, this means that the top companies focus on protecting technologies that cover multiple neural networks. Other patents focus mainly on machine learning, bootstrap methods and procedures used during speech recognition.

The analysis also shows that the number of machine learning patents grew significantly in 2017/18, with an overall increase of more than 68 percent. The sector-specific analysis shows that prominent companies are primarily focusing on AI applications for healthcare, such as medical simulations and data mining.

Intellectual property

According to Oxfirst, analysts traditionally study the value of companies and the competitive dynamics within an industry in order to follow market trends in AI, but the company believes that this fails to provide a complete picture. “Many, however, ignore the fact that intellectual property can fundamentally restructure economic dynamics between companies.”

Oxfirst considers intellectual property to be the currency of the knowledge economy. “Patents allow innovators to commercialise their inventions, paving the way for business success.”