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IBM still leads in AI patents

by Pieter Werner

Apple Inc. has been lagging in artificial intelligence (AI) patent filings compared to its major tech rivals, according to recent data from Stocklytics.com. In 2023, Apple secured 142 AI patents, significantly fewer than Google’s 870 patents. Despite this disparity, analysts suggest that Apple’s lower patent count may reflect a strategic choice rather than a lack of innovation.

Edith Reads, a financial analyst at Stocklytics, commented on Apple’s approach, stating that the company focuses on targeted, impactful innovations rather than the volume of patents. This strategy is evident in Apple’s selective and often secretive patent filings, which are typically aimed at enhancing its hardware and software ecosystem.

In the broader context of AI patent filings, IBM led the field with over 7,000 patents, followed by Google, which has amassed nearly 5,000 patents in total. Other significant players include Samsung, Amazon, and Microsoft, which filed 750, 541, and 527 AI patents respectively in 2023. Intel Corporation also made notable progress with over 300 patents last year, bringing its total to 1,650.

Despite its lower ranking, Apple is actively pursuing AI advancements through strategic partnerships and acquisitions. The company is collaborating with Google to integrate the new Gemini AI into its ecosystem and has recently hired AI experts from Google to bolster its efforts. Apple’s forthcoming iOS 18 update and the anticipated iPhone 16 are expected to feature advanced AI capabilities, including AI-driven search improvements and text message summarization through Siri.

Although Apple’s patent filings are fewer, its strong market position and focus on high-impact AI technologies suggest it remains a formidable player in the AI landscape. The company’s emphasis on generative AI and potential collaborations with entities like OpenAI highlight its ongoing commitment to innovation in this domain.

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