Growing importance of artificial intelligence (AI) driving new EU patent filings

Patent applications related to artificial intelligence (AI) have seen a dramatic increase in the EU since 2015, according to data from the European Patent Office (EPO).

In 2020 alone, almost 5000 applications were filed, with most emanating from Asia and the United States and coming from large companies including Microsoft and Google. Core AI (AI algorithm developments) make up most applications.

Most applications filed in the past several years are still pending. Notably, few have been refused. And the number of patents granted is increasing – having reached 786 in 2022. Up from 683 in 2021 and 433 in 2020.

Overall, AI innovators should be positive about their prospects in the EU for their ability to patent their technology. Applications for patents are increasing markedly, and most of those patents are slowly being (or are in the process of being) granted.

Important to remember too is that when considering a strategy for an AI patent portfolio, a long-term approach is important. AI patent assets will often gain in value over time with careful  and informed stewardship. Remembering that legislative changes related to your patent assets are likely to take place during the life of your patent assets makes it easier to take action to nurture those assets via informed regulatory navigation.