Countries Competing for Patent Leadership in Fourth Industrial Revolution Era
According to the Korea Intellectual Property Strategy Institute’s recent report, South Korea ranked third behind the United States and Japan when it comes to the ratio of patent applications for the past 20 years related to the fourth industrial revolution and fourth behind the United States, Japan and Germany in terms of patent quality and market competitiveness. The institute drew up the report by dividing core technology for the fourth industrial revolution into 18 associated with four fields and analyzing 130,000 related patents applied for in the U.S., South Korea, Europe and Japan since 1995.
According to the report, the ratio of patents associated with the fourth industrial revolution is 17% (20,930 patents) in the case of South Korea while it is 53% for the U.S., 20% for Japan and 10% for Europe. In addition, South Korea was found to be more competitive in the fields of service robot, smart home and wearable device whereas it was found to lag behind in brain science, bioartificial organ and genome research with a global market share of less than 1%.
The institute said that South Korea would be well advised to concentrate on commercial patents rather than essential patents as far as those related to artificial intelligence, self-driving cars, big data and the Internet of Things (IoT) are concerned because American, Japanese and European companies have already secured most of such essential patents in those fields.
“These days, artificial intelligence is becoming the center of patent disputes as it is emerging rapidly in association with the fourth industrial revolution and non-practicing entities are scrambling for relevant patents,” it mentioned, adding, “At the same time, the number of patent lawsuits surrounding patent purchase is on the increase, with regard to service robot, self-driving car and AI in particular.” The institute also said that the current top five patent applicants are Toyota (2,720 patent applications), Samsung Electronics (2,580), IBM (2,420), Denso (1,784) and Hyundai Motor Company (1,680).