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Quantum computing technologies on the rise

25 January 2023

Patent insight report on quantum computing

Today the EPO
published a patent insight report on quantum computing. It is the second in a
series of EPO patent insight reports related to quantum technologies

Over the last
decade or so, many large technology companies have been heavily invested in
developing quantum computing technologies. It is a highly advantageous and
competitive technology that has many advantages over classical systems, such as
being able to analyse vast amounts of data that traditional computer systems
simply cannot do within reasonable timeframes.

The report
provides, in the light of publicly available patent information, an overview of
quantum computing at large and the following sub-sectors: physical realisations
of quantum computing, quantum error correction and mitigation, and technologies
related to quantum computing and artificial intelligence/machine learning.

Some of the key
findings of this report are:

  • The number of inventions in the field of quantum
    computing multiplied over the last decade.
  • Quantum computing inventions show a higher
    growth rate than in all fields of technology in general.
  • The above-average share of international patent
    applications suggests high economic expectations with regard to the
    technologies in question and multinational commercialisation strategy.
  • There is a dynamic patent trend in the
    sub-sectors ‘physical realisations of quantum computing’, ‘quantum error
    correction/mitigation’ and ‘quantum computing and artificial
    intelligence/machine learning’, where the number of inventions also multiplied.

Roughly one out of ten European patent applications in the field
of quantum computing has several patent applicants, suggesting active
cooperation between them. The patent applicants come from all continents, with
a clear focus on the same region or continent.

While the number of inventions for all fields of technology is
continuously increasing (right scale), the increase in the field of quantum
computing is far above average (left scale). There are no signs that this
dynamic development in the field of quantum computing will slow down in the
next few years and as we move ever deeper into a more complex digital
landscape, it will be more important than ever for innovation, and cooperation
within the field, to be encouraged and nurtured so it ensures society as a
whole can benefit.

Quantum computing: Number of International Patent Families, per earliest publication year

1 Number of International
Patent Families, as a proxy for inventions with high economic expectations, per
earliest publication year. (click on image to enlarge)

Further information


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