Growth of A.I. Patents in the U.S. Shows Promise for Revolutionary Inventions

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) suggests that artificial intelligence has the potential to be the next revolutionary invention, according to their new report. The report showcases the exponential growth and diffusion of Artificial Intelligence within patented technologies from 1978-2018.

Notably, the data reflects a 100% increase in AI patent applications from 2002 to 2018. During this period, AI-related patent applications rose from 30,000 in 2002 to over 60,000 in 2018, as reflected in Figure 2.

Graph by U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Currently, the USPTO recognizes eight patent landscapes for AI technologies: planning/control, knowledge processing, AI hardware, vision, machine learning, natural language processing, speech, and evolutionary computation. From the 2002-2018 data, “Planning/Control” and “Knowledge Processing” experienced the largest surges in patent applications, followed by AI hardware, vision, and machine learning.

Graph by U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Along with the rapid volume growth, the report also indicates the importance of AI technologies for invention based on its pace of diffusion. AI technology components across all technology classes increased from 9% in 1976 to over 42% in 2018. Additionally, Inventor-patentees and patent owners with AI technologies in their granted patents increased from just 1% in 1976 to 25% in 2018.

So what does the data reveal about the future of AI? The report concludes, “the volume and diffusion of AI across technologies, inventor-patentees, patent owners, and geography show that AI is increasingly important to U.S. invention. Whether AI turns out to be as revolutionary as electricity or the semiconductor depends, in part, on the ability of innovators and firms to successfully incorporate AI inventions into existing and new products, processes, and services. Our results suggest that AI has this potential.“ View the full report here.

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