The 4th Industrial Revolution is characterized by a fusion of different technologies including artificial intelligence (AI), 3D printing, quantum computing, and robotics. It therefore seems appropriate that the 4 millionth patent application to be published by the EPO relates to the merging of AI and cosmetics - in particular, an image recognition method trained to recognise skin tone.
AI is already being implemented in many different, and sometimes unexpected, technology sectors; our latest annual report on AI patent filing trends at the EPO showed that, in the last 21 years, the technology sector with the largest number of AI published patent applications was not Telecommunications or Personal Computing, but was in fact, Life and Medical Science.
The yearly number of AI filings is growing, with AI patent publications increasing by 24% between 2018 and 2019 alone. During this time, Transportation was the only sector to experience a decrease in publications whilst Life Sciences, Physical Sciences and Industry and Manufacturing are continuing to see an increase in growth.