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Rapid Increase in Patent Applications related to Medical Diagnosis Methods using AI

Rapid Increase in Patent Applications related to Medical Diagnosis Methods using Artificial Intelligence

Since the Fourth Industrial Revolution has been grafted onto the medical field, the filing of patent applications in relation to the field of medical diagnosis methods which can provide and predict the diagnosis of diseases is increasing.

According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), filings of patent applications in relation to medical diagnosis methods* using artificial intelligence constituted merely 10 cases in 2015; however, in 2016 the number increased to 19 cases and has kept increasing ever since: 46 cases in 2017, 108 cases in 2018, 145 cases in 2019 and 270 cases in 2020. Overall, a 94% rate of increase has been shown over the most recent 5 years.

* Medical diagnosis methods using artificial intelligence are to diagnose and predict diseases by analyzing various Big Data such as medical records, biometrics measured by medical devices, medical images and generic information, etc. by using artificial intelligence technologies.

The telemedicine market size is growing globally, and this seems to be in relation to the sudden increase in patent application filings which has been caused by the high demand for “untact” (contactless) diagnosis and treatment due to COVID 19.

By type of applicant, domestic applicants led all filings of applications, while foreign applicants filed only 6.7% among them. In the case of domestic applicants, new businesses related to medical artificial intelligence and university-industry cooperation groups led this field of patent applications.

In detail, new businesses related to medical artificial intelligence filed 237 applications (43.5%), university-industry cooperation groups filed 224 cases (35.7%), individuals filed 46 cases (7.3%) and medical foundations filed 42 cases (6.7%), followed by laboratories who filed 18 cases (2.9%), 15 cases filed by hospitals (2.4%) and others who filed 9 cases (1.4%).

Per type of medical data being used, applications in relation to utilizing medical image information were filed the most at 153 cases (52.2%), applications related to using clinical and treatment data involved 84 cases (28.1%), 35 cases were related to biomarkers (11.7%), 20 cases were related to using electrocardiogram information (6.7%) and applications related to using walking information were filed for 6 cases (2.0%).

In the case of medical image information data, it seems that the standardization of imaging equipment provides an advantage in disease diagnoses adopting artificial intelligence because such standardization generates standardized data information.

By type of disease diagnosed, cancers top the numbers at 36 cases, followed by encephalopathy such as Alzheimer’s at 32 cases. Also, cardiac disorders involved 18 cases, ophthalmologic diseases made up 16 cases, 15 cases were related to diseases of the oral cavity, depression involved 10 cases and other diseases constituted 76 cases. It is analyzed that applications related to the diseases which Koreans get the most were also the most filed.

The head of Biotechnology & Healthcare Examination Division of KIPO stated, “It is a tendency to graft aspects of the Fourth Industrial Revolution such as artificial intelligence onto the medical field”, and added, “According to the changes in society caused by COVID-19 and also due to our being an aging society, patent application filings in relation to untact diagnosis technology can be expected to further increase”.

[Source: KIPO]


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