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China filing most number of generative AI patents, files 6 patents for every one of the US

A recent report by the United Nations Agency for Intellectual Property revealed that China is leading the world in filing patents for generative artificial intelligence (AI) inventions, significantly outpacing the United States, which ranks second.

Generative AI refers to technologies that create new content in various forms, such as text, images, video, or sound, including applications like chatbots.

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), over 50,000 patent applications for generative AI technologies have been filed in the past decade. Notably, more than 25 percent of these filings occurred just last year.

Between 2014 and 2023, China filed over 38,000 generative AI patent applications, six times the 6,276 applications filed by the United States during the same period.

Among the top patent applicants are prominent Chinese companies such as ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, the e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, and the US-based company OpenAI, known for creating ChatGPT. South Korea ranked third in generative AI patent filings, followed by Japan, India, the United Kingdom, and Germany.

The report highlighted that the launch of ChatGPT in November 2022 marked a significant milestone in the accessibility of advanced generative AI programs and huge language models (LLMs).

Despite its influence, OpenAI only began filing patents for its research activities in early 2023. This delay might be attributed to OpenAI’s transition from a non-profit organization to a “capped” for-profit model or its strategic decision to keep its intellectual property as trade secrets.

Generative AI patents encompass various sectors, including life sciences, where the technology could aid in designing new molecules and advancing drug development.

This surge in patent filings underscores China’s aggressive push in the AI sector, as it aims to establish itself as a global leader in technology and innovation. The significant number of patents also reflects the increasing importance of intellectual property in the competitive landscape of AI development.

As generative AI continues to evolve, its applications across different industries are expected to grow, further highlighting the strategic importance of securing intellectual property rights in this emerging field.

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