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‘Neuromorphic’, Next-Generation New Technology for Artificial Intelligence Semiconductors

‘Neuromorphic’, Next-Generation New Technology for Artificial Intelligence Semiconductors,

Ranks Second in the US Patent Applications

The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), together with the Center for Economic Catch-up, announced on March 22, 2022 (Tuesday) the results of an in-depth analysis of industrial competitiveness in relation to ‘artificial intelligence (AI) semiconductors’ using patent information.

In this study, unlike prior ones, for artificial intelligence semiconductors which are an essential industry for the Digital New Deal, patents world-wide were classified by technological development stage (1st to 3rd generations*) and then an in-depth patent analysis was performed for each.

* Artificial intelligence semiconductor technology started with the first generation using ❶ central processing unit (CPU) and graphic processing unit (GPU), went through ❷ the second generation using field programmable gate array (FPGA) and application-specific semiconductor (ASIC) chips, and is ❸evolving to the 3rd generation using neuromorphic chips.

Globally, patent applications for artificial intelligence semiconductors have more than tripled recently (2016 → 2019), and this increase seems to be due to the international interest in artificial intelligence and the development boom after the match between AlphaGo and Lee Se-dol in 2016.

<Patent Application Trend of AI semiconductors by 1st – 3rd Generations (2000 to 2021, World-wide)>

<Patent application volume and rate of increase for AI semiconductors by generation (World-wide, Derwent DB)>

Looking at major countries, overall, in the field of artificial intelligence semiconductors (1st to 3rd generation), the United States (37%) and China (36%) share the world's lead in patent applications, with Korea taking third place.

<Patent application trend in major countries and share by nationality (2006~2020, World-wide, Derwent DB)>

Looking at the patent trend in the US, which is the world's largest market and where patent applications are mainly filed for core technologies, the US took an overwhelming first place in all fields. Korea competes fiercely with China, Japan, and Taiwan for second place in the 1st and 2nd generations of artificial intelligence semiconductors, but in the 3rd generation neuromorphics, which is the next-generation new technology, it took the second place by a large margin over Japan and Taiwan.

* US patent application share in neuromorphic field (2000 - 2021, %): (Korea) 18 (Japan) 4 (Taiwan) 2 (China) 0

<Patent application share by nationality in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (2000 - 2021)>

On the other hand, looking at major patent applicants by artificial intelligence semiconductor generation, strong players in the existing semiconductor and computing fields such as Intel, IBM, and Samsung Electronics occupy the top spots in all fields, while in the next-generation neuromorphic field, Samsung and SK Hynix took the 2nd and 5th places, respectively.

<Major patent applicants by AI semiconductor generation based on the U.S. Agency (2000 - 2021)>

[Source: KIPO]


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