Since patents are not published until 18 months after they have been filed, the latest figures available are from 2016. In its list of patent applications in the field of AI, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) shows US companies IBM and Microsoft in leading position, followed by Toshiba and Samsung. The only two German companies to make the Top 20 are Siemens and Bosch, coming in 11th and 19th in the rankings. Only one company from China appears in the Top 20, and that is state energy company State Grid Corporation of China.
The picture is very different, however, when it comes to the rankings for research institutes filing the most AI patent applications. 17 of the 20 institutes with the most applications for patents are headquartered in China; the remaining three operate in South Korea. Only one German name crops up here: In the list of the 500 most active AI patent applicants – for both companies and research institutes – the Fraunhofer institutes are the European leader, at no. 159.