A recent study by the European Patent office, confirms that 29% of inventions in this field come from Europe, with the top three European countries being the United Kingdom, France and Germany. Worldwide, the second largest contributor is the USA (25%) followed by Japan (18%), Korea (13%), and China (6%).
The so-called 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) or Industry 4.0, is characterised by the blurring of cyber, physical and biological networks to create intelligent and autonomous systems with man and machine working alongside each other and machines talking to machines (M2M) to continuously refine their operations without human input. The EPO study covers the three areas of core technologies in the ICT field that make it possible to create connected objects; the enabling technologies that complement the core technologies, such as Artificial intelligence (AI) and user interfaces; and application areas of these technologies, such as vehicles, enterprise and home.
Early stage technologies in this field are primarily driven by the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) and AI such as Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant. 4IR also encompasses a number of other technologies, such as cloud computing and other areas of artificial intelligence, that make it possible to fully exploit the potential of smart connected objects in nearly all sectors of the economy.
The study was conducted by looking at all European patent applications related to smart objects up to 2016. The study found that application numbers began to rise steeply in the mid-1990s in all three 4IR sectors. Patent application numbers in this area had risen to over 5,000/year by the end of 2016 and In the last three years of the study , the rate of growth of filings was 54%.
If you are developing technologies in this field you should almost certainly be considering patent protection for your developments, and it is clear that many businesses are already doing so. If you need any assistance with this just get in touch and we will be happy to help.