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Report reveals explosion in machine learning advancement

Machine learning opportunities outlined in paper by ACS and IP Australia 

16 December 2019

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

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

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 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.”

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

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

Mr Ramasundara continued: “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.

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.

A copy of the report can be downloaded from


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


Further information

Troy Steer

Director of Corporate Affairs and Public Policy

M – 0417 173 740

E –

About ACS

ACS is the professional association for Australia's technology sector. More than 45,000 ACS members work in business, education, government and the community. ACS exists to create the environment and provide the opportunities for members and partners to succeed.

The Society strives for technology professionals to be recognised as drivers of innovation in our society, relevant across all sectors, along with promoting the formulation of effective policies on technology and related matters. Visit for more information.