Research and innovation in blockchain in the technology and communications sector has declined in the last year.

The most recent figures show that the number of blockchain related patent applications in the industry stood at 75 in the three months ending July – down from 265 over the same period in 2021.

Figures for patent grants related to blockchain followed a similar pattern to filings – shrinking from 200 in the three months ending July 2021 to 12 in the same period in 2022.

The figures are compiled by GlobalData, who track patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Using textual analysis, as well as official patent classifications, these patents are grouped into key thematic areas, and linked to key companies across various industries.

Blockchain is one of the key areas tracked by GlobalData. It has been identified as being a key disruptive force facing companies in the coming years, and is one of the areas that companies investing resources in now are expected to reap rewards from.

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The figures also provide an insight into the largest innovators in the sector.

International Business Machines Corp was the top blockchain innovator in the technology and communications sector in the latest quarter. The company, which has its headquarters in the United States, filed 26 blockchain related patents in the three months ending July. That was up from 23 over the same period in 2021.

It was followed by the China based Tencent Holdings Ltd with 12 blockchain patent applications, China based Huawei Investment & Holding Co Ltd (6 applications), and Japan based SoftBank Group Corp (6 applications).

International Business Machines Corp has recently ramped up R&D in blockchain. It saw growth of 11.5% in related patent applications in the three months ending July compared to the same period in 2021 - the highest percentage growth out of all companies tracked with more than 10 quarterly patents in the technology and communications sector.