China Dominates AI Medical Image Analysis Patents, According to Korean Intellectual Property Office
Chinese Influence Evident in AI Medical Image Analysis Patents
China has emerged as a dominant player in the field of AI technology patents for medical image analysis, such as X-rays, ultrasound, and CT scans, according to a recent analysis by the Korean Intellectual Property Office. The study examined patent applications from major countries over the past decade, from 2011 to 2020, and found that China accounted for 39.8% of the total applications, with a staggering 3,477 patents filed. In comparison, the United States came in second with 19.8% (1,733 cases), followed by Korea (12.1%), Japan (11.2%), and Germany (6.0%).
The figures for 2020 alone are even more striking, with China recording 1,383 cases, surpassing the combined number of the United States, Korea, and Japan, which totaled 1,157 cases. Last year, China’s patent applications for AI medical image reading technology were three times that of the United States and 3.4 times that of Korea.
Leading Companies in AI Medical Image Analysis Patents
The analysis also revealed that German and Japanese companies dominated the field in terms of patent applications over the past decade. Siemens Healthineers from Germany led the way with 393 cases (4.5%), followed by Philips Electronics from the Netherlands (2.6%), Canon Medical Systems from Japan (2.1%), and Fuji Film from Japan (2.0%). Philips ranked fifth overall with 143 cases (1.6%). Notably, Chinese companies Tencent (6th place with 138 cases) and Shanghai United Imaging (9th place with 103 cases) also made it into the top rankings. Samsung Electronics secured the 11th spot with 87 cases.
However, when looking at the number of cases in 2020, Philips took the lead with 96 cases, followed by Siemens (54 cases), Canon (51 cases), Tencent (48 cases), and Fujifilm (41 cases). Samsung Electronics, on the other hand, only applied for four patents.
Impressive Growth in AI Image Reading Technology Patents
The global patent applications for AI image reading technology showed remarkable growth, with an average annual increase of 54.7% from 2011 (58 cases) to 2020 (2,946 cases). The average annual growth rate over the past five years, from 2016 to 2020, reached 70.9%. Notably, Korea exhibited the second-highest average annual growth rate after China, with 67.1%.
Lowered Patent Barriers Present Opportunities for Korean Businesses
The study also assessed the concentration of patent applications using the Herfindahl-Hirschman index, which measures market monopolies. The index decreased from 458 in 2011 to 46 in 2020, indicating lower patent barriers and increased accessibility to the market. Jeon Beom-jae, head of the Artificial Intelligence Big Data Research Department at the Korean Intellectual Property Office, noted that the relatively low patent barrier for medical image analysis AI technology could present a favorable opportunity for Korean small and medium-sized businesses to thrive in this sector.
Provided by the Korean Intellectual Property Office
Attendees demonstrate the Weigao surgical robot at the China Brand Day event held in Shanghai, China from May 10 to 14. / Taken from Sina.com
China’s influence was found to be overwhelming in technology patents that use artificial intelligence (AI) to read medical images such as X-rays, ultrasound, and CT.
On the 3rd, the Korean Intellectual Property Office analyzed the AI medical image analysis technology applied to the patent offices of major countries (IP5: Korea, US, EU, China, Japan) over the past 10 years from 2011 to 2020. As a result , the number of patent applications in China was 3,477. (39.8%). Second place was the United States with 1,733 cases (19.8%), third place was Korea with 1,057 cases (12.1%), fourth place was Japan with 980 cases (11.2%), and fifth place was Germany with 522 cases (6.0%) .
Looking at the number of patent applications in 2020, China recorded 1,383 cases, which is 226 more than the United States (477 cases), Korea (407 cases), and Japan (273 cases) combined ( 1,157 cases). Last year, the number of patents for AI medical image reading technology in China was three times that of the United States and 3.4 times that of Korea.
When analyzing the number of patent applications over the last 10 years by business, academia, etc., German and Japanese companies dominated. Siemens Healthineers of Germany had the most cases with 393 (4.5%), followed by Philips Electronics of the Netherlands (2.6%, 229 cases) in second place, Canon Medical Systems of Japan (2.1% , 185 cases) in third place, and Fuji from Japan in fourth place. Film accounts for 2.0%, 173 cases.
Philips from the Netherlands came 5th with 143 cases (1.6%). China’s Tencent was 6th with 138 cases (1.6%), and Shanghai United Imaging was 9th with 103 cases (1.2%). Samsung Electronics was ranked 11th with 87 cases (1.0%). However, Yonsei University was ranked 24th with 44 applications.
Provided by the Korean Intellectual Property Office
However, as of 2020, Philips had the most cases with 96, followed by Siemens (54 cases), Canon (51 cases), Tencent (48 cases), and Fujifilm (41 cases). Samsung Electronics only applied for four patents.
Meanwhile, the number of AI image reading technology patent applications worldwide increased at an average annual rate of 54.7% from 58 in 2011 to 2,946 in 2020. The average annual growth rate over the five years between 2016 and 2020 was 70.9%. Korea’s average annual growth rate was 67.1%, the second highest after China (86.8%).
The Herfindahl-Hirschman index, which indicates the concentration of patent applications, fell from 458 in 2011 to 46 in 2020. The higher the Hirschmann-Herfindahl index, the more monopolistic the technology and the harder it is to access into the market. Lowering this index means that patent barriers have been lowered. Jeon Beom-jae, head of the Artificial Intelligence Big Data Research Department at the Korean Intellectual Property Office, explained, “Since the patent barrier for medical image analysis AI technology is not high, it is expected to be a good opportunity for Korean small and medium-sized businesses size.”
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