A recent rise in the importance of AI in all industrial sectors is leading to efforts to develop AI technology and subsequently to a surge in patent applications.
According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), patents related to AI semiconductors, which was 32 in 2013, soared to 391 in 2017in South Korea, a ten-fold increase over the four years.
The number increased significantly -- 59 in 2014, 77 in 2015, 167 and 391 in 2017. In particular, the number has skyrocketed since 2015 when professional game player Lee Se-dol and Alpha Go had the go match of the century.
Among applied patents, those on non-memory semiconductors accounted for 79 percent. Of these, 42 percent were about 'non-memory semiconductors for machine learning' used for machine learning such as deep running.
The proportion of patents on non-memory neuromorphic semiconductors attracting attention as a next-generation AI semiconductor, was small at 7 percent, but showed the largest increase over the last three years. Non-memory neuromorphic semiconductors have a next-generation AI semiconductor structure that imitates the human cranial nerve in terms of hardware. These days, the AI industry’s big interest in them and active technology development are driving up applications for patents on non-memory neuromorphic semiconductors.