DPMAnutzerforum 2024: Boom in filings of AI inventions

Current statistical analysis concerning artificial intelligence – DPMA President: Figures show that AI will play a major role in many areas of life – Germany in second place in the international ranking – Top-ranking IP experts exchange views at the key annual event of the DPMA

Press release of 18 March 2024

Munich. The innovation activity relating to artificial intelligence has continued to increase. In technology classes with a strong focus on AI, the number of publications of patent applications with effect in Germany was 40% higher last year than five years ago. There was a particularly significant increase in the core areas of AI, which include digital computer systems with special processing units, computer systems based on specific computational models such as neural networks and related learning processes. The number of such applications has more than trebled since 2019. “In the form of generative tools such as ChatGPT, artificial intelligence has found its way as an everyday technology into society. The strong and broad innovative dynamism shows that AI will play a major role in many areas of life in the future,” Eva Schewior, President of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA), said ahead of the DPMAnutzerforum 2024. The DPMA has evaluated and analysed the innovative activity concerning artificial intelligence. This analysis will be a topic at the key annual event of the DPMA, which will take place in Munich on March 19th and 20th and be livestreamed on YouTube.
(See also our pdf-Datei Fact sheet on artificial intelligence - in German.)

In addition to the core areas of artificial intelligence, the analysis shows a particularly strong innovative activity concerning image recognition, computer technology, medical technology and traffic and automotive engineering. If we take a look at the published patent applications for the German market by country of origin, US applicants are dominant: Almost one-third (32.4%) of all applications published in 2023 came from companies or research institutions from the United States, followed by Germany with a share of 17.1% and Japan with a share of 12.4%. Places 4 and 5 went to China (10.1%) and the Republic of Korea (4.7%), respectively. At the same time, it becomes clear that the increases were most significant with respect to Asian countries. Last year, there was a 15% rise in publications from China compared to the 2022 figure. Next in the ranking came the Republic of Korea with an increase of 10.7% and Japan with an increase of 8%. The increases in Germany and the United States were 5.2% and 3.7%, respectively.

In the 2023 ranking of individual applicants, Robert Bosch GmbH, a German company, came in first, followed by Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., Google LLC, Microsoft Technology Licensing, LLC and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.

DPMA President: We need to be among the most innovative countries in AI

"Innovative applications of artificial intelligence will be of vital importance to international competitiveness in the future. Measured by patent applications, German companies take a comparatively good position in the German market,” DPMA President Schewior said. “In view of the immense dynamism in other parts of the world,” she added, “we, too, should continue to make all efforts to be among the most innovative countries in this key future technology."

The analysis is also particularly topical in light of the legislation on artificial intelligence, referred to as the Artificial Intelligence Act, recently adopted by the European Parliament. "We will keep an eye on how innovative activity develops in view of the European provisions," the DPMA President said.

Methodology:To conduct this analysis, we have considered published patent applications effective in Germany at the DPMA and the European Patent Office (without double counting). Patent applications are published after 18 months. This means that inventions filed in 2023 are not included in the analysis.

For the analysis, we have identified and evaluated the respective most relevant items of the International Patent Classification (IPC). As there are no definite IPC items for artificial intelligence, this approach is an approximation that shows the various trends. The IPC items considered may not include all published AI-related inventions, but they may include inventions not relating to AI.

DPMAnutzerforum 2024: Lectures, discussions, technical information

Alongside the latest developments at the DPMA, this year’s DPMAnutzerforum focuses on the importance IP rights have for innovative capacity, especially that of small and medium-sized enterprises. After the introduction by the DPMA President, Alissa Zeller, chairwoman of the Committee on Intellectual Property and Copyright at the Federation of German Industries and Senior Vice President Global Intellectual Property at BASF SE, will give a keynote speech. Prof Uwe Cantner, Vice-President of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena and Chairman of the Commission of Experts for Research and Innovation of the Federal Government, and Beat Weibel, Chair of the Association of Intellectual Property Experts and head of the patent department of Siemens AG, will discuss the question "Do IP rights promote or stifle innovation?". Moreover, there will be lectures and workshops to inform the customers of the DPMA.

The German Patent and Trade Mark Office

Inventiveness and creativity need effective protection. The DPMA is the German centre of expertise for all intellectual property rights – patents, utility models, trade marks and designs. As the largest national patent office in Europe and the fifth largest national patent office in the world, our office stands for the future of Germany as a country of inventors in a globalised economy. Its staff of just under 2,800 at three locations – Munich, Jena and Berlin – provide services to inventors and companies. They implement federal innovation strategies and develop the national, European and international protection systems.

Last updated: 18 March 2024