What Does It Take To Patent Cutting Edge Technologies?

It is a well-established fact that artificial intelligence, internet of things, and autonomous vehicles have been the buzzwords of this decade. The number of devices implementing these technologies have probably outnumbered human beings on the planet. The current trend of innovation in these domains indicate a splurge on innovation, research and development. This has led to an increase in patenting activity and tech giants have engrossed in a rat race to stay ahead in this competition.

All of this has however impacted the quality of patents. A recent study indicated that only 15% of the patents of some of the major innovators in IoT were ‘actually enforceable’. Let’s have a look at the state of patenting in these technologies:

Artificial Intelligence: The State of Innovation

With a CAGR of more than 50% since the last five years, AI market is now projected to reach between $35 and $50 billion by 2025. This growth has been attributed to value and adoption across many sectors, including healthcare, automotive, retail, education, industrial manufacturing, telecommunications, media and advertising, finance and security. Leading tech giants are set to acquire start-ups and smaller firms, making significant contributions in the field of AI.

This steep rise in technology adoption is creating patent filing trends similar to the ones observed during the communication and internet boom witnessed in the year 2000. As of now, China leads in the innovation race followed by the U.S.

Chinese universities/companies seem to be investing higher in development of AI. In fact, China seems to be on a mission to change the perception behind the tagline – “Made in China” by turning from a mass producer of low-end products to a world leader in cutting-edge technology.

Artificial Intelligence: Top Assignees Worldwide


Source: Questel Info.

From the above graph, it is evident that IBM, the State Grid Corporation of China, Microsoft, Baidu, Google, Samsung, and Intel turn out to be the top innovators. The world’s largest utility company – the State Grid Corporation of China has emerged as one of the top patent holders with heavy investment on smart grids.

Internet of Things: The State of Innovation

The global market for Internet of Things (IoT) technology, which consists of software, services, connectivity, and devices, reached $130bn in 2018 and is projected to reach $318bn by 2023, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20%. Over the last five years Samsung, Intel, Qualcomm, Shenzen Sheng Lu IoT Communication technology, and Ericsson have turned out to be the top innovators in IoT area.

Autonomous Vehicles: The State of Innovation

The global semi & fully autonomous vehicle market is projected to grow at a CAGR of more than 21% until 2030, on account of increasing focus of automobile manufacturers in making safety enabled vehicles to prevent accidents and to leverage the opportunity in rapidly growing security enabled driverless vehicles market, especially in North America and Europe.   

Over the last couple of years, major automotive giants such as BMW AG, Tesla, Toyota, General Motors, etc., have enhanced their product offerings to gather more customer attention towards their products. On the other hand, many leading technology companies such as Google and Intel have also increased their focus on collaborating with leading global vehicle manufacturing companies and pursue joint research and development activities. This has led to large scale patenting with China as the leader, closely followed by the U.S. and the European Union.


The surge in filing of patent applications in these technologies demonstrates the opportunities for disrupting the AI, IoT, and Autonomous vehicle industry with innovation. These technologies will continue to witness high growth in innovation, thereby leading to high patenting activity. Download our e-book for detailed insights on the challenges in obtaining patents in these industries, as well as the solutions and best practices needed for patenting.

– The Editorial Team

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