Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a technology area that has garnered significant interest in recent years. As society becomes increasingly dependent on the latest technologies, the amount of data generated from the complimentary services linked to such products has increased at an exponential rate; so much so that alternative methods of parsing through all this data is essential to being able to extract additional value. Some have characterized data as a new resource, equivalent to "oil."Footnote 1 With society in an era of big data, it is necessary to have the appropriate tools to leverage this abundance of information.
Measuring innovation pertaining to AI is a challenging task since the field involves a variety of different techniques that can be broadly applied across a wide array of industries. Even though patented inventions are not a universal indicator for measuring innovative activities, there is no measure that captures all of the elements that comprise the innovation process. For this reason, this report is based on the premise that patent activity is a good proxy for measuring innovation in a particular technology sector.
The primary focus of this report is to highlight Canadian innovation undertaken domestically and abroad in the field of AI. Combined, Canadian researchers and institutions accounted for 1.8%, or 1,516, of the 85,144 AI inventions patented worldwide between 1998 and 2017. The number of worldwide AI patented inventions has increased exponentially over the past 20 years. In 1998, fewer than 2,000 inventions were patented, while in 2017, that number increased to slightly less than 20,000. In 2017, Canada ranked sixth globally, both in terms of the number of patented inventions assigned to Canadian researchers and to Canadian institutions. Canada’s rankings fall behind notable countries that file prolifically, namely China and the United States. Canadian researchers are identified as being specialized in the following sub-categories of AI Applications: Natural Language Processing, Knowledge Representation and Reasoning, and Computer Vision. Furthermore, the Toronto, Ottawa–Gatineau and Vancouver Census Metropolitan Areas (CMA) have the highest concentration of inventive activity for Canadian researchers. Canadian institutions, on the other hand, are not only specialized in Life and Medical Sciences and Physical Sciences and Engineering, but also the Telecommunications AI Field. However, Canadian institutions are not as specialized as some of the other countries in the quickly growing Transportation field. The Toronto and Montréal CMAs have the most inventive activity for institutions, while the Ottawa–Gatineau and Vancouver CMAs are tied for third. In terms of the gender distribution among Canadian researchers in this field, there was one female researcher identified for every six male researchers, while internationally, the ratio is one female researcher for every three male researchers.
Considering that this report is based on information that is publicly available and leverages the valuable content included in such patent data, it begs the question: will reports such as this be one day generated through AI? Diving deeper into the patent data could assist in determining if such a technology that has the potential to generate such an analytical report, has already been developed.
Elias Collette, Chief of Economic Research and Strategic Analysis, Canadian Intellectual Property Office
Sean Martineau, Senior Economist, Canadian Intellectual Property Office
Mazahir Bhagat, Data Analyst, Canadian Intellectual Property Office
Danny Leung, Director of Economic Analysis Division, Statistics Canada
Jesse Tweedle, Research Economist, Statistics Canada
Daniella Savin, Senior Patent Examiner, Canadian Intellectual Property Office
Tea Lalatovic, Student Analyst, Canadian Intellectual Property Office
Jia Yu, Student Analyst, Canadian Intellectual Property Office
Thushar Ishwanthlal, Student Analyst, Canadian Intellectual Property Office
Sarah Rajguru, Analyst, Canadian Intellectual Property Office
The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) would like to extend its gratitude to the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office for its ongoing collaboration and support to arrive at a commonly accepted definition of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in addition to sharing its patent search strategy.
This report applies a comprehensive taxonomy developed by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) for its Technology Trends 2019 report to categorize the AI patented invention data into groupings which facilitate a targeted analysis of specific technology areas. For this, CIPO is thankful to WIPO for publishing its methodology and its ongoing effort to push the boundaries of IP research.
We would also like to thank Statistics Canada for their analytical contribution to this report in the Canadian institution section, which presents descriptive statistics on institutions holding patented inventions. This contribution greatly enhances our understanding of the demographics of potential CIPO clients in the AI technology field and to benchmark against national statistics for all technology fields.
The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO), a Special Operating Agency of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), is responsible for the administration and processing of Intellectual Property (IP) in Canada. CIPO contributes to Canada's innovation and economic success by providing greater certainty in the marketplace through high-quality and timely IP rights, fostering and supporting invention and creativity through knowledge sharing, raising awareness to encourage innovators to better exploit IP, helping institutions compete globally through international cooperation and the promotion of Canada's IP interests, and administering Canada's IP system and office efficiently and effectively.Footnote 2
Aussi offert en français sous le titre Traitement de l'intelligence artificielle : Aperçu du paysage canadien des brevets.