Despite dominating the patent world, China only managed one high-filing startup.
Tech, media and telecom (TMT) startups made up the majority of the top 10 startups for patent activity in the past year, according to figures GlobalData.
Most of the TMT startups focus on smart wearables, the Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT), the metaverse and quantum computing.
GlobalData’s Startup Companies Scorecard revealed that the top patenting startup was Huaqin Communication Technology.
Based in Shanghai, Huaqin was found to have submitted around 800 patent filings and 900 grants for innovations covering virtual reality, wearables and industrial automation. Nearly all its patent applications were filed in China.
But while China overtook the U.S. globally as the top source of international patent applications back in 2020, Huaqin is the only Chinese startup on GlobalData’s list.
Instead, seven of the top 10 were American, Canada-based D-Wave Systems and the U.K.’s Ultrahaptics rounded out the list.
Degree was the top patent filing U.S. startup, but almost half of the filings were from Huaqin. Most of Degree’s patents cover industrial automation, space systems, robotics and wearables. They mostly filed in Europe, Australia and Argentina.
D-Wave Systems and U.S.-based startup Brain Corp also made the list. Their patents covered quantum computing, nanotechnology, medical IoT and robotics. Most of D-Wave’s patents were filed in the U.S., Europe and via the World Intellectual Property Organization, while Brain Corp has protection in multiple geographies including the U.S., Europe and China.
Patents are a potential source for raising funds for startups, according to GlobalData, “especially when they are struggling to attract investors due to global economic slowdown.”
“The rise of the startup patent activity can be due to the government initiatives and the expedited patent approval processes, which eventually boost their likelihood of going public,” said Darshana Naranje, senior analyst at GlobalData.
“The TMT sector is still dealing with issues such as evolving consumer needs, constantly improving technology, and an expanding digital supply chain due to technologies such as IoT, 5G and the metaverse. It will be fascinating to see how the telco startups lead the industry in innovation through a combination of efficiency improvements, productivity boosts, digitization projects and structural changes like network sharing.”
GlobalData’s Startup Companies Scorecard covers unicorn startups with patent portfolio strengths greater than 500, minimum funding of $5 million and the most recent funding raised on or after Jan. 1, 2019.