Last month I co-authored an article with James Hinton in IAM Magazine, entitled “Intellectual property and artificial intelligence: what does the future hold?“.We looked at the IP trends in AI, specifically where ownership sat by country and company.
Overall, any research group, scale-up, or multinational working and patenting (or not patenting) in AI should be aware of their competitive IP position – and unless the group is from China they are already at a disadvantage for the future. While companies like Microsoft, Alphabet, IBM, Facebook, Qualcomm, Yahoo! and Amazon are leading the way and ahead of most companies, they will be poised to relinquish their IP leadership to Chinese institutes and companies soon.
Our research indicated that US and Chinese ventures are leading in terms of patent ownership, and other countries investing in AI technology (eg, Canada, France and the United Kingdom) need well-crafted and cohesive strategies that consider the country’s position in the international landscape or else technology startups from these countries will be paying royalties to US and China based ventures in the future.
In more detail – where is the Chinese push coming from? AI, a research heavy technology, is primarly being protecetd by Chinese institutes: China accounts for 15 of the top 20 research institutions filing AI patents, while the United States accounts for the other five. My estimate is that this push by China is likley strongly supported from their 2006-2020 Medium and Short Term Development Plan, which has China targeting to be one of the top 5 patent countries with patents granted to its own citizens by 2020.
Until then – as an AI researcher, startup-venture, or institutional policy maker – where does this leave us, and what do we do about it?
That’s a discussion for Part 2….