5G and AI Driving Growth in Patent Applications and Digital Transformation: EPO

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  • Patent applications in digital communication, as per EPO, grew by 19.6 per cent in 2019, overtaking medical technology
  • Chinese companies contributed most to the growth in digital communication patent applications
  • US companies accounted for nearly 40 per cent of all patent applications in computer technology

Huawei, in 2019, is estimated to have invested more than 15 billion Euro in R&D. A recent report published by the European patent office (EPO) pointed out that as many as 3,524 patents were filled by Huawei last year.

The company is followed by other industry giants including Samsung, LG and Siemens in the top five. Patent statistics published by the EPO show that for the first time in more than a decade digital technologies have taken the lead in patent applications filed.

“The rapid rise of digital technologies is the most striking trend from our 2019 index. The digital transformation of the economy is now fully reflected in the patent applications reaching the EPO,” stated EPO president Antonio Campinos.

Patent Applications in 2019. EPO

5G and AI driving growth

Digital communication and computer technology, as per the EPO report, saw the steepest growth, highlighting their key role in driving the digital transformation that is permeating all sectors and industries. Patent applications in digital communication grew by 19.6 per cent in 2019, overtaking medical technology, which had been the most patent-active technology since 2006.

“This field, which lies at the intersection of telecommunications and computers, includes technologies that are crucial to implementing 5G wireless networks,” read the EPO report.

Chinese companies contributed most to the growth in digital communication patent applications, with US and South Korean firms following suit.

Patent applications related to artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence, as per the report, was the driving force behind the increase in patent applications around the computer technology. The areas highlighted by the report include machine learning and pattern recognition, image data processing and generation, and data retrieval.

US companies accounted for nearly 40 per cent of all patent applications in computer technology. The leading applicants in 2019 were Alphabet (Google), Microsoft, Samsung, Huawei, Intel and Siemens.

“A breakdown of applications originating from European countries shows that 72 per cent of them were filed by large companies, 18 per cent by small and medium-sized enterprises and individual inventors, and 10 per cent by universities and public research organisations,” read the report.

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