A machine learning-driven analysis platform has examined 100 million cloud and AI-related intellectual property rights, and discovered that Chinese companies filed eight times as many relevant patents as their American counterparts in the past year.
The report was carried out by intellectual property analytics provider Cipher, using their AI-driven patent intelligence platform.
The results highlight China’s increasingly important role as an innovator and reveal that Chinese technology giant Alibaba now has a larger patent portfolio than Amazon.
Thanks to its AI-based analytics platform, Cipher were able to digest over 100 million patents, from 1 million companies, in 100 countries, to position the major players in the global races in fintech, aerospace and defence, automotive, technology, and manufacturing.
In the technology industry, Cipher compared the number of cloud and AI-related patents filed by US and Chinese companies from 2010 to 2016. The data shows that companies in China have now outpaced their American rivals, generating approximately 16,000 patents in 2016 compared to the American firms’ 2,000.
“Patents are absolutely critical to determining who owns the technologies that will define the future,” explained Nigel Swycher, Cipher’s CEO. “The West has largely dismissed Chinese patenting as window dressing, but it tells you exactly what is happening inside the store. Based on the data, there is a real risk that China will take the lead across a number of foundational technologies.”
“This data gives a valuable insight into dominant technological forces globally, with China threatening to disrupt the status quo.”
The global patent picture
The report also revealed that Chinese giants Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba are closing on Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Google and Amazon in terms of the size of their patent portfolios. Tencent, with the largest portfolio among the Chinese trio, now holds three times as many patents as Facebook, twice as many as Amazon, and only 5% fewer than Apple.
“China used to have a reputation for being the Wild West when it came to intellectual property rights, but that’s no longer the case,” said Swycher. “Instead, they’re taking patents seriously to support their innovation strategy, growing their portfolios exponentially.”
Elsewhere in Asia, Japanese automotive and technology leader Toyota is dominating in electric and driverless car technologies. Among the top ten global carmakers, Toyota owns 46 percent of patents for electric and hybrid vehicle technology and 30% of those for autonomous vehicles.
Internet of Business says
A population of over 1.4 billion people, many of whom are generating data on a daily basis, means China has a wealth of data at its disposal for developing AI and cloud technology, but they have also recognised the crucial part intellectual property plays in innovation.
Patents hold enormous value and influence in the business world. Companies are often willing to pay large licensing fees to use intellectual property belonging to others, while court cases sometimes demand hundreds of millions, or even billions, of pounds in compensation when intellectual property rights are infringed upon.
So-called ‘patent trolls’ take advantage of this buy sitting on vague or broad patents with the sole purpose of suing technology companies whose products fall within their remits. And, of course,
Western innovators need to understand the power of patents, and the landscape around them, if they want to dominate the tech space. Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba are not to be underestimated. Earlier today we reported on Alibaba’s new partnership with Germany semiconductor company Infineon, while they also signed a memorandum of understanding with Siemens in recent weeks.
We suspect that Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Google (FAAMGA) are starting to take notice of the fact Chinese technology companies are now looking further afield.