Each week, Verdict’s journalists analyse data on patent filings and grants that illustrate innovation trends in our sector. These patent signals show where the leading companies are focusing their research and development investment, and why. We uncover key innovation areas in the sector and the themes that drive them.
This new, thematic patents coverage is powered by our underlying Disruptor data which tracks all major deals, patents, company filings, hiring patterns and social media buzz across our sectors.
Artificial intelligence (AI) had the most patents published in the technology industry over the past year, according to research by GlobalData.
From July 13 2022 to July 12 2023, there were a total of 488,470 patents filed in AI.
This is a considerable amount more than the next leading patent theme, environment, which totalled 307,187 patents over the past year.
Generative AI is currently seeing a funding boom, which may explain the dramatic amount of patents filed.
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GlobalData estimates that over 338,000 social media posts made between September 2022 and July 2023 were about generative AI. Additionally, both Meta and Apple have released plans to create chatbots to rival OpenAI's ChatGPT.
Meta initially announced that it would release its generative AI as open source, but has since gone back on those claims, stating that it will charge bigger companies to access the software.
However, as Meta's chatbot will remain an open-source tool for smaller companies and individual users, the future monetization of generative AI hangs in the balance.
Over the past three years, China considerably published the most AI patents totalling 332,017 - compared to 147,388 in the US.
Between 2017 and 2021, there were over 6.5 million technology patents published.
According to GlobalData, the amount of technology patents published over this time increased by 8% at a compound annual growth rate of 8%.