Monday, 16 December 2019 23:26

Australia well placed to carve out ‘important niche’ in global machine learning field Featured

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From left to right: Andrew Johnson, ACS CEO; Yohan Ramasundara, ACS President; Karen Andrews, Minister for Minister for Industry, Science and Technology; Angie Ball, Member for Moncrieff; Dr Ian Oppermann, Vice-President ACS; Catriona Bruce, Head of IP Australia’s Patent Analytics Hub; Matthew Forno, IP Australia Assistant General Manager, Policy and Governance Group. From left to right: Andrew Johnson, ACS CEO; Yohan Ramasundara, ACS President; Karen Andrews, Minister for Minister for Industry, Science and Technology; Angie Ball, Member for Moncrieff; Dr Ian Oppermann, Vice-President ACS; Catriona Bruce, Head of IP Australia’s Patent Analytics Hub; Matthew Forno, IP Australia Assistant General Manager, Policy and Governance Group.

Australia has an opportunity to carve an important niche in the global machine learning field, according to a report into the sector’s patent filings launched by the Minister for Science, Karen Andrews on the Gold Coast on Monday.

The report, prepared by the Australian Computer Society, the professional association for Australia's technology sector, and IP Australia, examined global trends in the patenting of machine learning and AI-related technologies.

The report found Chinese organisations dominate the world’s machine learning IP filings with 25,319 patents, with the US second - while Australia ranks 17th with 59 applications.

Of the top five Australian applicants, the top patent filer is the CSIRO, with five patent families. In second place is HRO Holdings with three patent families - and in shared third place are four entities: Atlassian, CRC Care, NewSouth Innovations and the University of Technology Sydney, with each having two patent families.

Minister Andrews said the report highlighted the “impressive work” underway in Australia and the “huge potential for growth”.

“We know AI stands for artificial intelligence but this report shows it could easily stand for Australian Invention. We’ve got an incredible history of ingenuity in this country and AI and machine learning are at the centre of that next generation of invention,” Minister Andrews said.

“This report follows the recent release of our AI Roadmap which highlights opportunities for Australia to use AI technologies to build new industries, transform existing ones, boost productivity and create new jobs.”

The report analyses trends across 36,740 machine learning patent families filed around the world since 2012.

ACS President Yohan Ramasundara said: “Through this report we wanted to investigate where the world’s innovators believe there are gaps in the market that can be commercialised through machine learning technologies, as well as potentially indicate those industries and use cases that appear untapped, thus providing innovators with insight as to where early leader advantage may still be achieved.”

“This report highlights how important it is for Australian businesses and researchers to protect their intellectual property in key fields like machine learning.

"As machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies become more critical to government and private sector processes’ decision making, it's critical Australia has a stake in this important, and potentially lucrative, field."

Catriona Bruce, Head of IP Australia’s Patent Analytics Hub added: “The patenting of machine learning and AI-related technologies has experienced outstanding growth with patent filings growing at least 27 per cent each year since 2012.

“Patents are useful indicators of innovative activity, allowing us to analyse patent data to measure scope, intensity, collaboration and impact. This analysis has shown AI-related inventions are booming, with machine learning dominating this growth.”

Key points from the report include:

  • Australian innovators rank 17th globally, with 59 patent families on machine learning.
  • The State Grid Corporation of China is the top global innovator, with 1,018 active patents in this field.
  • In second, third and fourth place are the United States, South Korea and Japan, both as origins of innovation by patent applicants and as patent filing destinations or target markets.
  • The telecommunications sector leads real world applications of machine learning, with 17% of patent applications.
  • Image and video analysis are the largest core capability applications.

Minister Andrews said the report is an indicator that the machine learning field promises strong growth “with the potential to boost Australian innovation and leverage global investment”.

“It also highlights the benefits to the broader Australian economy and how the nation can benefit from machine learning,” she concluded.

To download a copy of the report click here.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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