Innovation in IT: businesses and trends

Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov, Ph.D. Probability and Statistics

What are the most innovative IT fields? The patent classification system can sometimes be hard to grasp. Additionally, the Patent and Trademark Office has recently finished the transition from one system to another. However, this doesn’t help us follow the hottest topics either. The mapping is available on the official website, but it is purely statistical. This means that you can’t really compare different classifications.

Another approach that we used was determining the topics ourselves. We based our method on applying the Latent Dirichlet Allocation algorithm to the (parsed and stemmed) application abstracts. Granted, this approach is relatively computationally expensive. The results are quite consistent with the original classification, but are, in fact, universal.

Here are the top five topics, based on the entire corpus of IT patent grants.

Networking technology seems to be the hottest field at the moment. Around 6,400 new patents were issued in 2015, and a whopping 8,600 were predicted for 2016.

Databases, on the other hand, have become somewhat less popular recently. This is especially evident compared to 2010, when it was the top topic with 3,500 new patents issued.

To be fair, the names of the topics are somewhat arbitrary — we chose them based on the words most common to each topic. Here are those words:

  • Databases: data, search, object, document, query, include, database, identify, method, set
  • Messaging: information, content, message, device, receive, media, data, include, video, apparatus
  • Information: user, information, provide, data, method, base, event, item, associate, include
  • Networking: network, server, device, request, client, communicate, secure, access, service, node
  • Software: application, file, computer, virtual, resource, software, manage, component, provide, method

As you can see, four of the five topics are pretty specific, with “Information” being the only generic one.

Another fact to consider is that a single company filed the most patents in each of the topics.

Number of IT patents issued since 2011 by company

Microsoft and Cisco are the other two companies that seem to drive innovation in the most popular topic. They were granted 933 and 1,018 new patents respectively since 2011.


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About Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov, Ph.D. Probability and Statistics

Andrey Kamenov is a data scientist working for Advameg Inc. His background includes teaching statistics, stochastic processes and financial mathematics in Moscow State University and working for a hedge fund. His academic interests range from statistical data analysis to optimal stopping theory. Andrey also enjoys his hobbies of photography, reading and powerlifting.

Other posts by Andrey Kamenov:

One thought on “Innovation in IT: businesses and trends”

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