Economic research

USPTO economists study all aspects of intellectual property (IP) to better understand the determinants of innovation and to support evidence-based policy making. The Office of the Chief Economist (OCE) leads these efforts through engagement with scholars, collaboration on research projects, and conference events. OCE also releases datasets on USPTO patents and trademarks to advance economic research on IP. 

New report in our IP Data Highlights series

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

A new U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) report, titled "Inventing AI: Tracing the diffusion 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. Read more about the image below.

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%.

For previous infographics, visit the IP infographics page.