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UK is now behind China in blockchain and AI

Written by  Jan 21, 2019

The UK ranked fourth in the world for the number of blockchain patents filed but is falling behind for AI patents with Chinese companies having a big lead in developing Artificial Intelligence technology.

A new study by UHY Hacker Young shows that 11% of all global patents for blockchain technology were filed by UK businesses in 2017 – ranking them fourth in the world – with 34 patents from a total of 314 filed with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).

No other country in the European Union makes it into the Top 10 countries for number of patents related to blockchain filed with WIPO.

In comparison, Chinese businesses filed 32% of all global patents for blockchain technology in 2017. Chinese businesses have invested heavily in blockchain technology in recent years, with the Chinese central bank supporting the development of a blockchain-based trade finance platform to help SMEs access finance.

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The study shows that US businesses are close behind with 92 global patents (29%), followed by Australian businesses with 40 patents (13%), just ahead of the UK.

UHY revealed that the biggest filer of global blockchain patents in 2017 was nChain, a blockchain-focused research firm based in London and Vancouver, which filed 48 patents for blockchain technology at WIPO.

Patents for new blockchain technology

The study shows, however, that UK businesses are falling behind China and other international rivals in the development of patented Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology, filing just 2 patents from a total of 649 Artificial Intelligence patents (less than 1%) with WIPO in 2017.

China is ahead of its global competitors by some distance in the race to build portfolios of intellectual property in Artificial Intelligence. Chinese businesses filed 473 out of the 649 Artificial Intelligence patents (31%) filed with WIPO in the period.

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