The Rise of Artificial Intelligence: Patent Activity in Europe & Around the World

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) has come a long way since its inception in the 1950s. Initially a theoretical concept, AI is now a practical technology that is being used in various industries such as healthcare, finance, automotive, and many more. AI has also impacted our daily lives, from voice assistants to autonomous vehicles. In this article, we will explore the progress of AI, including its history and how it has evolved to where it is today, while presenting the patent activity from different countries and companies.

A look at the Evolution of Artificial Intelligence

The concept of Artificial Intelligence has been around for centuries, but it wasn’t until the 1950s that the technology began to take shape. The first AI program was created in 1951 by Christopher Strachey. The program was a checkers game played by a computer, and it used machine learning to improve its gameplay. 

The term “Artificial Intelligence” was first coined in 1956 by John McCarthy, Marvin Minsky, Nathaniel Rochester, and Claude Shannon at the Dartmouth Conference. The conference was a gathering of researchers interested in exploring the possibilities of creating machines that could think and learn like humans. 

During the early days of AI, progress was slow. The technology was limited by the available computing power and the lack of data to train machine learning algorithms. However, researchers persisted, and by the 1960s, AI had made some significant advancements. 

In the 1980s, AI made significant strides with the development of expert systems. Expert systems are computer programs that are designed to mimic the decision-making abilities of a human expert in a specific field. Expert systems were widely used in industries such as healthcare and finance, where they were used to diagnose diseases and manage risk. 

Machine Learning

Machine learning is a subset of AI that involves training machines to learn from data. The technology behind machine learning had been around since the 1950s, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that it became a practical technology. 

The advancements in computing power and the availability of large datasets allowed researchers to develop more advanced machine learning algorithms. These algorithms could analyze data and learn patterns, making them useful in industries such as healthcare, finance, and retail. 

In recent years, AI has made significant progress with the development of deep learning. Deep learning is a subset of machine learning that involves training neural networks with multiple layers. The layers enable the network to learn more complex patterns, making it useful in applications such as image and speech recognition. 

Deep Learning

Deep learning has been used in a wide range of applications, from healthcare to automotive. In healthcare, deep learning algorithms are being used to diagnose diseases and develop personalized treatment plans. In the automotive industry, deep learning is being used to develop autonomous vehicles that can operate without human input. 

One of the most significant advancements in deep learning has been the development of Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs). GANs are neural networks that are capable of generating new data based on existing data. This technology has significant implications for industries such as entertainment, where it can be used to create new content. 

Patent Activity Around the World

AI innovation has become a significant area of focus for countries worldwide, with many governments investing heavily in the development and deployment of AI technologies. 

Here are the top 5 countries worldwide that have the most patents filled around AI technology. 

Top 5 Countries in AI Related Patents Worldwide

The United States and China are leading the charge in AI innovation especially in the latest years. Other countries that are also making significant strides in AI innovation are Germany, Japan and South Korea.  

The number of patents filed can serve as a useful indicator of the level of investment and activity in the field of AI both by countries and businesses. Here are the top 5 companies worldwide that have the most patents filled around AI technology.  

Top 5 Companies in AI Related Patents Worldwide

American companies IBM and Microsoft are leading in number of patents filled, followed by Samsung, NEC Corporation and Google. 

Patent Activity in Europe

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a global phenomenon, with countries around the world investing heavily in research and development. In Europe, AI has become a top priority, with many European countries and companies leading the way in AI innovation. 

The European Union (EU) has recognized the importance of AI and has established a framework for the development and deployment of AI technologies. The EU’s strategy for AI focuses on promoting innovation, supporting ethical and trustworthy AI, and ensuring that the benefits of AI are shared across society. 

Several European countries have also developed their own strategies for AI. For example, in 2017, France launched a national strategy for AI that aims to make France a world leader in the field. The strategy includes investments in research and development, the creation of an AI ecosystem, and the development of ethical and trustworthy AI. 

Germany has also made significant investments in AI, with the government pledging €3 billion in funding for AI research over the next decade. The funding will be used to support research projects, establish AI centers of excellence, and promote the development of AI technologies. 

Here are the top 5 countries in the area of Europe that have the most patents filled around Artificial Intelligence. It’s clear that from 2016 and onwards Germany has made a significant leap towards AI innovation, followed by the United Kingdom, Russia, France and Sweden. 

Top 5 Countries in AI Related Patents in Europe

Here are the top five European companies that are at the forefront of AI innovation, developing AI-powered solutions for industries such as healthcare, retail, and energy.  

Top 5 Companies in AI Related Patents in Europe

Irish company, Accenture Solutions along with German Bosch and SAP are leading in AI innovation especially since 2018 and onwards. They are followed by IMB UK and the Dutch Philips.   

As AI continues to evolve, we can expect to see more European companies leading the way in AI innovation and shaping the future of the technology. 


The future of AI is bright and as technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see more advanced AI technologies being developed. Some of the areas where AI is likely to make significant progress in the future include natural language processing, robotics, and personalized medicine. 

AI has come a long way since its inception in the 1950s. From the first AI program created in the 1950s to the advanced deep learning algorithms of today, AI has made significant progress. AI has impacted our daily lives in various ways, from voice assistants to autonomous vehicles, and it will continue to do so in the future. As technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see more advanced AI technologies being developed, which will further change the way we live and work. 


The year in the trends is based on the year of the earliest priority date of the patent family. The top 5 applicants/countries are sorted by the total number of patent families with an earliest priority date between 2013 and 2020. For companies with multiple branches, only the top performing branch is included. The country of a patent family is based on the country code of the earliest priority application(s). India is excluded from the countries due to limited patent information. For the technical areas CPC-classification is used with the following classification code: machine learning – G06N20/00.   

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