IFI CLAIMS, that produces a global patent database combining information from more than 100 countries around the world, has carried out a comprehensive search of technologies and obtained counts of patent applications for each technology. The largest categories were selected, and growth was calculated using the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) over a 5-year period (2016-2020).

IFI used the cooperative patent classification codes, “CPC codes” in IFI CLAIMS’ patent database.
  1. Computer systems based on biological models
  2. Electrical smoking devices
  3. Angiosperms --New flowering plants
  4. Machine learning
  5. Quantum computers
  6. Control systems for non-electric variables (e.g. control of vehicles)
  7. Information displays
  8. Information transfer
  9. 3D Printing technologies
  10. Automatic pilots and navigation systems for vehicles

1. Computer systems based on Biological Models -

With a CAGR growth of 67.28% in number of patents filed from 2016 to 2020, Computer systems based on biological models (Patent Class - G06N 3 & Its Subclass) is the top fastest growing technology. 

As per IFI, this technology refers to computing systems where the computation is based on biological models (brains, intelligence, consciousness, genetic reproduction) or is using physical material of biological origin (biomolecules, DNA, biological neurons, etc.) to perform the computation. The computation can be digital, analogue or chemical in nature.

According to IFI, many growing sub technologies are included within class G06N of Patents (Computer systems based on specific computational models) which is the top area in terms of new technology developments right now.

2. Electrical Smoking Devices 

Technology related to vaping devices.

Electrical smoking devices and related technologies, is the second fastest growing technology with a CAGR growth of 55.08% in number of patents filed.

Technologies include electrically operated smoking devices and its related component parts, its related maintenance or testing and charging means specially adapted for electrical smoking devices or simulated smoking devices for example limiting the frequency of smoking, e.g. with time-control, counting means.

3. Crop Science Technologies Related to Plant and Seed Development

Angiosperms – New Flowering Plants

Crop science technologies related to Angiosperms i.e. flowering plants -- a seed-producing plants -- is the third fastest growing technology with a CAGR of 48.59% growth in number of patents filed. This include techniques and technologies for obtaining new plants and plant reproduction by tissue culture techniques.

It also include Artificial pollination and specific mutations prepared by genetic engineering on plant cell or plant tissue.

4. Machine Learning

Considered as part of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning is related to computer algorithms that can self-improve through experience and by the use of data. With patent classification of 'G06N 20', this technology is growing fast with a CAGR of 46.01%. 

This 4th fastest growing technology include Support Vector Machines (SVM) and Ensemble Learning. SVM is a supervised machine learning model with associated learning algorithms that analyze data used for classification and regression analysis. SVM is highly preferred by many as it produces significant accuracy with less computation power.

The Ensemble Learning is a hybrid method in machine learning that intelligently combines the insights obtained from multiple learning models to facilitate accurate and improved decisions.

5. Quantum computers

Quantum computers are computers that perform calculations based on the probability of an object's state before it is measured - instead of just 1s or 0s - which means they have the potential to process exponentially more data compared to classical computers.

Quantum computers, i.e. computer systems based on quantum-mechanical phenomena (class G06N of the U.S. Patents) is growing at a CAGR of 41.75%. This include patents in Quantum Computers' chips, processors, interaction gate and flux qubits.

 In 2016 to 2020, IBM (655) and Google LLC (338) tops the number of patents in Quantum Computers.

A recently published quantum computing patent application provides solutions to problems related to timing in a photonic quantum computer. Precise timing is needed for certain operations in a quantum computer that uses qubits represented by entangled photon states in a photonic integrated circuit, for example.

6. Control Systems related to Autonomous Vehicles and Driver-Assist Technology

Control systems for non-electric variables (e.g. control of vehicles)

Patents for "applications of systems for controlling or regulating non-electric variables" saw growth of CAGR 37.85%.

This include control of position of land vehicles, agriculture or harvesting machine.

7. Display Technology for Computers, Mobile Phones etc.

Growing at a CAGR of 29.08%, this technology class is related to -- Interconnection of, or transfer of information or other signals between, memories, input/output devices or central processing units.

In simple words, technology related but not limited to optical laminate, image display device, light-transmissive display system for computers, mobile phones, etc.

In this category, Samsung and LG leaded with most patents applications, in 2016 to 2020.

8. Information Transfer Technology 

Growing at a CAGR 28.21%, this patent class is related to Interconnection of, or transfer of information or other signals between, memories, input/output devices or central processing units. 

In simple words, data transfer technologies used in computer design. 

9. 3D Printing Technologies

Growing at a CAGR of 27.14%, this technology refers to process used in 3D Printing like Auxiliary operations or equipment, e.g. for material handling. Material Handling is critical to production scale 3D printing.

In 2016-2020, Hewlett Packard Development Co LP (470) and General Electric (331) leaded with most patent applications on their name.

10. Automatic Pilots and Navigation Systems for Vehicles

Technology area is related to the autonomous vehicle industry.

Growing at a CAGR of 27.1%, class G05D 1 is defined as the Control of position of vehicles, course or altitude of land, water, air, or space vehicles, e.g. automatic pilot radio navigation systems. For an instance, Nvidia Corp has a pending patent for "Training, testing, and verifying autonomous machines using simulated environments". 

Between 2016 to 2020, Ford Global Technologies and Toyota Motor were leading patent applicants for this class of technology.

[Top Image by Lorenzo Herrera on Unsplash]

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