Cybersecurity: The race to protect our critical infrastructure

Analysis firm Cybersecurity Ventures has predicted that global spending on cybersecurity products and services will exceed $1 trillion cumulatively over the next five years, from 2017 to 2021.[1] The firm has also said that in 2004, the global cybersecurity market was worth $3.5 billion, and in 2017 it was expected to be worth more than $120 billion. Cybersecurity has become a country-wide imperative for many of the world’s nations and is without a doubt one of the most important technological initiatives currently being explored.

Minesoft, in partnership with Patinformatics, will be publishing a new report on the patenting trends in the cybersecurity sector on the 12th June 2018. During the course of our research into this topic Minesoft and Patinformatics discovered the following headlines in association with the field of cybersecurity:

  • China is filing patents on cybersecurity at an unprecedented level and has recently far surpassed the rest of the world in seeking patent protection in this area. They are particularly interested in the sub-category of authentication
  • China has edged out the United States for total number of cybersecurity inventions over the past ten years
  • IBM has the largest collection of cybersecurity patent families, followed by fellow US company Microsoft, but Intel had the second highest number of families starting in priority year 2016
  • IBM was the number one assignee in four of the seven sub-categories, and were in the top 10 for all the rest
  • China has 9 of the top 25 companies in this study
  • Chinese companies Tencent, Huawei, Alibaba, Lenovo, ZTE, and Xiaomi file a significant number of their inventions in the US as well as China. Seeking protection in jurisdictions other than China is a clear signal of the importance these companies place on these innovations and their likely quality
  • Qualcomm files for nearly 60% of their inventions in China as well as the US. This is the highest percentage of any US company in the top 25 when the two jurisdictions are compared
  • In the sub-category of protecting wireless networks Samsung has almost twice as many inventions than Qualcomm, but Qualcomm is the largest influencer in the space with citation connections to most of the other major players

In this study more than 97K patent families over the course of 10 years were analyzed. The research was restricted to the world’s top six patenting jurisdictions, including the United States, China, Japan, North Korea and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). These patent families represent more than 48,000 granted patents, and 220,000 pre-grant applications.

As can be seen in the graph perhaps the most astonishing finding in this report is the explosive growth in publication of patent families coming from China in the past five years. This chart is based on earliest priority filing year, and since patent documents have an 18-month delay between the time they are applied for and the time they are published this explains the dip in 2016 that is seen with almost all of the jurisdictions studied except for Korea and China. The fact that China has continued to grow rapidly between 2015 and 2016 is another indicator of how much emphasis the country has put on this field.

Looking specifically at 2017, Chinese companies OPPO Mobile and Alibaba, who rank 20th and 21st overall can be seen as the two fastest rising companies in the cybersecurity field. This provides additional evidence that China has placed an emphasis on this area and that Industry interests as opposed to Government are driving the growth.

Innovation in the field of cybersecurity continues to grow at an astonishing rate and this is seen in the patent trends associated with this space. China has clearly made this field a national priority as they are patenting at an accelerated rate compared to other jurisdictions.

All the findings in the report were found using the comprehensive, high-quality data in PatBase. Powerful, in-built PatBase Analytics V2 makes it possible to recreate a similar patent landscape analysis for any technology area. All tools, analysis functionalities and data shown in this report are included in every full PatBase subscription.


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