Companies patent AI tech despite open-source claims

A recent article published by WIRED shares how, despite many companies claiming they want artificial intelligence (AI) findings and technology to remain open and accessible to everyone, they are rushing to patent their AI technology.

AI has become an intellectual property battleground, with large companies, such as Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Amazon leading the way. However, many smaller companies are joining the race all the time, as the number of U.S. startups developing A.I. systems increased a staggering 14 times from 2000-2016. Organizations, such as Brain Corporation, Cognitive Scale and Shape Security are examples of highly-funded startups that are protecting their technology, having combined for nearly 300 granted and pending patent applications (see our AI 100 report).

According to a study cited in the WIRED article that was conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research, US patent filings related to machine learning have increased from 104 in 2009 to 551 in 2015 (more recent data is incomplete due to an 18-month lag in publication).

The director of the Patent and Trademark Office, Andrei Iancu has also said that he wants to continue to incentivize AI innovation, which means we are likely to see the number of AI patents increase in the coming years.

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