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Artificial Intelligence (AI) Patent Filings Continue Explosive Growth Trend At The USPTO Posted on : May 24 - 2022

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Patent Application filings continue their explosive growth trend at the U.S. Patent Office (USPTO). At the end of 2020, the USPTO published a report finding an exponential increase in the number of patent application filings from 2002 to 2018. This trend has continued. In addition, current data shows that AI-related application filings pertaining to graphics and imaging are taking the lead over AI modeling and simulation applications.

In the last quarter of 2020, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) reported that patent filings for Artificial Intelligence (AI) related inventions more than doubled from 2002 to 2018. See Office of the Chief Economist, Inventing AI: Tracking The Diffusion Of Artificial Intelligence With Patents, IP DATA HIGHLIGHTS No. 5 (Oct. 2020).

Since the publication of the USPTO's report almost two years ago, AI patent application filings have continued their explosive growth trend.

The below chart shows filings by Technology ("Tech") Center over time from 2000 to 2022.

Note that the right-most side of the graph slopes down because of the 18-month "Publication Delay," during which information for newer patent application filings is not yet publicly available. See 37 CFR § 1.211.

The above chart organizes patent application filings by Tech Center. As shown, most AI-related patent applications fall into one of two Tech Centers. First, Tech Center 2100 (purple color in the above graph) includes examiners that handle "Computer Architecture and Software" inventions. It is not surprising that many AI-related patent applications end up here because Tech Center 2100 includes the specific AI-related  Art Unit 2120, which handles technology involving "AI & Simulation/Modeling."

Second, Tech Center 2600 (red color in the above graph) handles "Communications" technology. Tech Center 2600 includes several art units devoted to graphic and visual processing, such as Art Unit 2615 ("Computer Graphic Processing") and Art Unit 2660 ("Digital Cameras; Image Analysis; Applications; pattern Recognition; Color and Compression; Enhancement and Transformation"). Such Art Units handle AI-related patent applications that involve image processing. This can include the use of a Convolutional Neural Network ("CNN") to detect, classify, and/or predict objects in two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) space. View more