Canada falling behind in global race for artificial intelligence patents

    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives for a press conference at Element AI Thursday, December 6, 2018 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

    Fewer artificial intelligence patents have been filed in Canada each year since 2016, despite over $350 million in announced government investment and the creation of 185 new AI companies since January 2016.

    Over the past decade Canada had the fifth most patents globally that included the words “artificial intelligence,” based on an analysis by The Logic of data from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). That rank is at risk of falling significantly. In 2009, there were 183 AI patents filed in Canada; by 2017, that number dropped 61 per cent to just 72 patents. So far in 2018, 52 patent applications have been filed.

    Canada is the only jurisdiction among the top 10 by AI patents filed to see a decrease in the number of patents applied for every year between 2016 and 2018. Sixth-place Australia, for example, had 311 patents in 2017—that’s more than Canada had in the past four years combined.

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