Featured IP infographic

Intellectual property infographics (IPIGs) highlight new evidence-based findings that shed light on how IP affects innovation and welfare in the U.S. and abroad. The latest infographic featuring the USPTO report on the diffusion of artificial intelligence is directly below and our previous IP infographics can be found at the bottom of the page.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is diffusing broadly across inventor-patentees and companies

Technology diffusion is the spread and adoption of a new technology by inventors, companies, and other innovators. Technologies that diffuse broadly have potentially large effects on innovation, productivity, and economic growth. For example, steam power, electricity, and information technology greatly enhanced the volume, as well as the variety, of goods produced within the economy.

A new U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) report, titled “Inventing AI: Tracing the emergence of AI with U.S. patents,” finds that AI is diffusing broadly across technologies, inventor-patentees, companies, and U.S. geography. The figure below shows that the percentage of U.S. organizations (green line) and inventors (dashed blue line) that patent in AI increased from under 5% in 1980, to just over 20% in 2018. This is remarkable growth and shows that AI is increasingly important to U.S. invention.

Graph of patent grant year (1976-2020) x-axis vs percent U.S. AI patents (0-25%); solid green line for U.S. owners-at-grant, blue dashed line for U.S. inventor-patentees. Start 1-2%, concave rise with dip 2015; owners higher until 2009 then inventors higher. Owners end 22.1%, inventors 24.9%.

The USPTO report develops an AI algorithm to find AI in U.S. patents. That is, a machine learning AI algorithm is used to determine the volume, nature, and evolution of AI and its component technologies as contained in U.S. patents from 1976 through 2018. This approach improves the accuracy of identifying AI patents by better capturing the diffusion of AI across technology, companies, inventor-patentees, and geography.

More information on the diffusion of AI, as well as the AI method used to identify AI patents is available in the OCE report, “Inventing AI: Tracing the diffusion of AI in U.S. patents.”


Previous IP infographics