China-Based Inventors Filing Most GenAI Patents, WIPO Data Shows

China-based inventors are filing the highest number of generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) patents, far outpacing inventors in the US, Republic of Korea, Japan and India that comprise the rest of the top five locations, a new WIPO report shows.

The “WIPO Patent Landscape Report on Generative AI” documents 54,000 GenAI inventions in the decade through 2023, with more than 25% of them emerging in the last year alone.

GenAI allows users to create content including text, images, music and computer code, powering a range of industrial and consumer products including chatbots such as ChatGPT, Google Gemini or Baidu’s ERNIE.

Between 2014-2023, more than 38,000 GenAI inventions have come out of China, six times more than second-place US. India, which is the fifth-biggest location for GenAI invention, saw the highest average annual growth rate among the top five leaders, at 56%. GenAI is already spreading across industries including the life sciences, manufacturing, transportation, security and telecommunications, the report shows.

“GenAI has emerged as a game-changing technology with the potential to transform the way we work, live and play. Through analyzing patenting trends and data, WIPO hopes to give everyone a better understanding of where this fast-evolving technology is being developed, and where it is headed. This can help policymakers shape the development of GenAI for our common benefit and to ensure that we continue to put the human being at the center of our innovation and creative ecosystems. We are confident that the report will empower innovators, researchers, and others to navigate the rapidly evolving generative AI landscape and its impact on the world,” said WIPO Director General Daren Tang.

Key findings:

  • 54,000 GenAI-related inventions (patent families[1]) were filed and more than 75,000 scientific publications published between 2014 and 2023.
  • The growth is rapid, with the number of GenAI patents increasing eightfold since the 2017 introduction of the deep neural network architecture behind the Large Language Models that have become synonymous with GenAI.
  • In 2023 alone over 25% of all GenAI patents globally were published, and over 45% of all GenAI scientific papers were published.
  • GenAI patents still currently only represent 6% of all AI patents globally.
  • The top 10 GenAI patent applicants are: Tencent (2,074 inventions), Ping An Insurance (1,564 inventions), Baidu (1,234 inventions), Chinese Academy of Sciences (607), IBM (601), Alibaba Group (571), Samsung Electronics (468), Alphabet (443), ByteDance (418), Microsoft (377).
  • The top five inventor locations are China (38,210 inventions), US (6,276 inventions), Republic of Korea (4,155 inventions), Japan (3,409) and India (1,350)
  • Image and video data dominate GenAI patents (17,996 inventions), followed by text (13,494 inventions) and speech/music (13,480 inventions). GenAI patents using molecule, gene and protein-based data are growing rapidly (1,494 inventions since 2014) with 78% average annual growth over the past five years.
  • GenAI patents span across a diverse range of sectors, including in life sciences (5,346 inventions), document management and publishing (4,976 inventions) and over 2,000 inventions in each of business solutions, industry and manufacturing, transportation, security, and telecommunications.
  • In the future, GenAI can help design new molecules, expediting drug development. It can automate tasks in document management and publishing, be increasingly used in retail assistance systems and customer service chatbots and enable new product design and optimization, including in public transportation systems and autonomous driving.

1The analysis counts simple patent families as a proxy for individual inventions. A simple patent family is a set of patents filed in various countries or jurisdictions that is related to a single invention, and the technical content in this set of patents the same. The first publication by a member of a patent family counts as the publication year. This report on GenAI complements the groundbreaking 2019 WIPO Technology Trends publication on Artificial Intelligence.

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