AI Image Processing

Human is the most intelligent species among all the living creatures. Human has evolved over time, starting from discovering fire during early age, till now it is continuously evolving. Creations and Inventions made by the human race have eased our lives. One such creation is Artificial Intelligence. The term Artificial Intelligence means intelligence which is not natural. It is the result of a complex machine learning algorithm that enables the computer to learn from its experiences and evolve over time.

The use of AI in Image Processing has been increasing with time. Earlier, in Image processing or editing, the photographer or the photo editing professionals use to correct various parameters of an image in order to make it visually impressive. This requires a lot of technical knowledge and skills along with expert judgement in analyzing that the image is good enough. With the advent of AI in image processing, very less or we can say almost no technical knowledge and skills are needed. Fantastic looking processed images can be made just with a click. The AI algorithm is structured in such a way that it can automatically detect and edit an image.

Fig. 1 Priority patent application filing trend

While AI came into trend much early, it was only after 2014 that prominent innovation in Image Processing using AI actually started. After 2014, the priority patent application filing has been increasing ever since and reached the highest mark of 5,837 total applications. Also, the priority filing count for the year 2019 can be expected to overshoot the priority filing count of 2018, as some of the patent applications filed in 2019 are yet to be published. It is worth to mention here that in the last five years the priority application filings have increased with a CAGR 84.84%.

Fig. 3 Top Market Jurisdictions

What accounts for this sudden increase in the number of patent applications?

In China, over 13,000 priority patent applications were filed in the domain whereas, in the United States, the number of priority patent applications filed were less than one-fourth of the applications filed in China. This shows that the US is way behind China in the innovation in the domain. China can be regarded as the world leader in the domain of AI Image Processing. On digging a little deeper, it is observed that of the huge number of patent applications filed in the domain in China, a majority of them are filed by educational institutions of China. The top assignees of the domain are Chinese universities which indicates that a significant amount of research in the domain is going on in Chinese universities. Surprisingly, the top assignee in the domain of AI Image Processing is not a corporate entity but a Chinese University named Xidian University with a portfolio of 327 patent families.

Fig. 4 Top Universities holding patents related to AI Image Processing

Fig. 5 Top Companies holding patents related to AI Image Processing

Who is leading the Image Processing AI patent race?

The top company assignee is Samsung Electronics with a portfolio of 211 patent families which is very less as compared to that of Xidian University. The top spot of China as an innovation hub and as a market may be attributed to the Chinese universities and companies that are innovating in the domain. However, one thing must be noted here that most of the Chinese companies innovating in the domain are restricted to the Chinese geography only. The Chinese companies such as Tencent Technology (Shenzhen), Beijing Sensetime Technology Development and Pingan Technology are late entrants in the domain, but they have developed a significantly strong patent portfolio in the domain. Thus suggesting that new entrants are focusing on IP creation.

The present time may be called as a golden period for AI Image Processing as a lot of research and innovation is presently going on in the field. The field of AI Image Processing is currently growing as more and more innovation is happening, the company which will focus on making their patent portfolio stronger now would most likely be in a better position in the later time.

China is the single biggest market for the domain. China is followed by the US which is closely followed by Japan, Europe, Korea and Germany. The reason for China being the biggest market is the Chinese companies and universities. Chinese companies such as Tencent Technology (Shenzhen), Pingan Technology, Beijing Sensetime Technology Development, and Beijing Kuangshi Technology Development are the top patent filers. Google is the top filer in the US followed by IBM, Microsoft and Samsung Electronics. Also, the Chinese companies which are innovating in China are showing very little interest in other market jurisdictions.

In the upcoming time, the investor’s focus is likely to shift towards China as it is the biggest innovation hub and also possess the biggest market potential with a population of more than a billion people.

With the increasing trend of AI Image editing applications in the market and more and more social media apps offering the AI image filters, the consumption of AI Image processing products is constantly increasing among consumers.

So, we can say that China is the biggest innovation hub and also the biggest market for the domain of AI Image Processing. China is followed by the US and Japan as the second and third biggest innovation hub and also market jurisdictions, respectively. The domain is witnessing increasing R&D indicating that the research products will be commercialized in the coming time. Further, companies are focusing on creating a strong IP portfolio which will restrict others from using the protected technology while at the same time providing the patent holders to leverage their portfolio by out-licensing their patent rights. This era is the AI era, the AI technology will not restrict itself, at least for two to three decades from now, but will only expand its ambit.

Impact of IP on Green Technology Innovation


Green technology or sustainable technology plays a very significant role in developing a positive environment. It helps to counteract the bad effects of pollution and climate change by producing green products. Intellectual property Rights plays a prominent role in the growth of green technology. It provides a platform for researches and inventors to understand the current scenario of green products to bring innovation in green technologies. In this study, we will discuss the impact of intellectual property on green technology.

Investment, Innovation and Technology Transfer

The investment, innovation, and technology transfer are interlinked to provide social and economic benefits from research. The functioning of these two elements must be accurate to provide effective economic growth. The process of technology transfer consists of the commercialization of academic research and discoveries. Innovation brings technology transfer which results in the production of new goods and services. Investment is dependent on technology transfer as it is directly related to production. These three factors play a pivotal role in the development of green technologies.

The need for Green Technologies Innovation

Only the innovation is a tool that can bring advancement in existing green technologies. It motivates the researchers and inventors to build new ideas. Innovation in green technology is fruitful in terms of economic growth and also acts as a catalyst to make the environment healthy. It can bring new solutions for climate change, recycling, utilizing solar and wind energy. The ultimate goal of innovations in the field of green technology is to provide a methodology or product which is beneficial for society as well as economic growth. Innovation opens up new doors for green technology in the market. In some countries, green technology innovations are growing at a much faster rate as compared to the innovations related to other fields.

Some Amazing innovations in Green Technology

The green technology is a hot topic of research all over the world. Researchers, scientists, and inventors are continuously working in the field of green technology to bring a cost-effective solution. In the past few years, we have seen some interesting innovations focussed on green technology. A few examples of these innovations are as follows:

  • Producing Cloths from waste milk
  • Computer chips made from woods
  • Roads made from plastic
  • Bioplastic made from sugar
  • Organic solar film
  • Corky: A 100% recyclable mouse
  • A battery made from cardboard
  • A Lightbulb Which Lasts For 37 Years
  • Energy-generating soccer field

There are numerous other interesting inventions in the field of green technology.

Intellectual property Rights provides a platform to the scientist, researchers, and inventors to bring innovation in technology by knowing the existing weaknesses. It provides multiple options such as patents, copyrights, trademarks & trade secrets not only to bring innovation in a field but also to protect that innovation. The laws associated with Intellectual property bring curiosity inside the inventors to invent a technology that is novel, cost-effective, and beneficial for the society. 

Role of Intellectual Property Rights in Green Technologies Innovation Green products are developed on the technologies which involve environment protection, recycling waste products, reducing pollution, utilization of resources in a more sustainable manner, an adaptation of change in climatic conditions. Such as water shortage, ocean acidification, rising water levels, extreme weather. Intellectual property rights include patents that serve as a technology transfer tool in the context of green technology. Patents also encourage investment and innovation of green technology. Patents include various types of exclusive rights which motivate universities, organization and corporate sector to invest in the innovation of the green technology and to introduce these technologies into the market. Apart from developing new technologies, patents serve as a collaboration tool. It provides collaboration between the government and the non-government sector to bring innovation in the field of green technology. Patents serve as a database that provides accurate information regarding the latest trends in green technology and organization working in these domains. By analysing patents related to green technologies, it can be predicted that what and how a problem or issue related to green technology is being solved in an invention. As a result, an investor can develop an improved version of that invention. It indicates that patents serve a very prominent role in innovating green technologies.

Apart from patents, trade secrets also motivate an inventor for green technology innovation. The inventions which are not patentable can be kept secure using trade secrets. The IP system provides a lot of options to inventors for innovation and investment in green technology. It also promotes the technology transfer of green products.

Green Technology Investment Trend over the Past 10 Years

The researchers, inventors, and scientists are continuously working on green technology innovations. The patent filings over past ten years in the field of green technologies such as recycling, solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy, climate change, and biofuels indicates that the green technology as a field is witnessing rapid innovation and patents are acting as a powerful resource for bringing tremendous growth in green technology innovation. Through our research, we witness that technology areas, such as, Climate Change, Geo-thermal Energy, Wind Energy, and Recycling are gaining increased interest in Green Technology.


Through this study, we have tried to highlight the importance of IP for green technology innovations. Green technology plays a very prominent role in the field of technology as well as in the betterment of the environment. Intellectual property has a big impact on green technology innovation, in not only offering protection, but also in motivating researchers, scientist, and innovators to invent in the domain. Patents serve as a very powerful tool, as they create awareness in inventors about the existing innovation and the current problems in the domain. By analysing the patent data, innovators & companies can find unique ways to improve the existing technology. There is a need for sustained research & development in the domain for bringing positive changes in the environment. The growth of technology is directly proportional on the growth of IP in the domain – as strong intellectual property rights provide scalability in the field of green technology.  


As a step of encouragement and increased ease of filing patents, The Indian Patent Office released a gazette notification on September 17, 2019 for implementation of the Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2019. The notification is a modification/extension of the original Patents Rules, 2003 and has been published almost nine months after it was first notified via the draft Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2018 on December 4. The introduced amendments allow a wider category of applicants to avail the benefits of expedited examination where earlier only startups and applicants nominating India as International Searching Authority (ISA) and/or International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA) were granted the convenience.


The objective of publishing of the Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2019 is the provision of expedited patent examinations to a broader groups or sectors of applicants in the future. The Patent Rules were first amended in 2016 to include the provision of expedited examinations and are further amended in 2018 draft to include the additional categories of applicants. Expedited examination is a more accelerated or fast-tracked mode of application filing and review of the application, than an ordinary patent application. The examiner of applications in this scenario is required to review and draft the report within a span of about two months from the date of reference of the application filing. This allows the examination to be completed appreciably sooner than the normal application and faster granting of patents. With the addition of eight new categories of applicants, the amendment is a major encouraging step in the direction of more successful IP industry. Another important aspect is the fee cost that was earlier high due to the maintenance of the patent application, has also been reduced substantially and helped the startups and other sectors in achieving more convenience of patent filing.


1. Rule 6(1A) : Amendment in method of filing of documents

Prior to the modification, the filing of documents was required to be only through an electronic transmission followed by the submission of the original documents, within 15 days from the date of filing at the Indian Patent Office.

However, the new amendments allow a major change in the filing procedure by requiring the submission of ONLY the authenticated electronic transmission by the applicant within the 15 days time period. The physical hardcopy shall be presented only on the official request of the Patent Office within a span of 15 days from the date of demandfailure of which would be regarded as not filed.

2. Rule 7 : Addition of startups for filing of Form-28

While earlier only small entities were required to submit Form-28 every time any fee had to be paid for any document submission, now the amended rule includes the applicants from Startups to also file Form 28 along with small entities.

3. Rule 24 C : Eligibility of applicants that can file for expedited examination

Until the amendment, expedited examination was only applicable in conditions when –

A. applicant is a startup (Indian or non-Indian)

B. the Indian Patent Office (IPO) is indicated as the International Searching Authority (ISA) and/or International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA)

The amended rules of Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2019 now extend this application to a larger group or sector of applicants. Any of the following can qualify for the aforementioned provision:

  • The applicant is a small entity; or
  • The applicant is a startup (Indian or non-Indian); or
  • The applicant has indicated the Indian Patent Office (IPO) as the ISA and/or IPEA; OR
  • The applicant or at least one of the applicant is a female; or
  • The applicant is a Government department; or
  • The applicant is an institution established by a Central, Provincial or State Act, which is owned or controlled by the Government; or
  • The applicant is a government company as defined in clause (45) of section 2 of the companies Act, 2013; or
  • The applicant is an institution wholly or substantially financed by the Government; or
  • The applicant is eligible under an agreement between Indian Patent Office and a foreign Patent Office, for processing a patent application; or
  • The application pertains to a sector which is notified by the Central Government on the basis of a request from the head of a department of the Central Government.

4. Rule 55 : The controller

A new addition has been made in the sub-rule (2) of the Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2019 that states that ”the Controller shall, by order, constitute a bench comprising two members, who shall proceed to dispose of the application and the representation jointly: Provided that if the members of the bench differ in opinion on any issue, the Controller shall nominate a third member to the bench and subsequently the majority decision will be treated as final.”

 5. 48A and 49A : Transmittal fee for ePCT applications

Another important amendment to the rules benefits the applicants filing electronically due to non-payment of any transmittance fee if the application is an ePCT filing, while fees ranging from 3200-16000 would still be needed for the payment of filing of the physical copy. Also, the fee for the preparation of a certified copy of priority document and sharing of the same via e-transmission through WIPO DAS has been waived off.

6. Form 18A

Corresponding to the changes made above, to accommodate the new applicants eligible for expedited examination, similar amendments have also been made to the Form 18A, dealing with the same.


1. In case where India has been chosen as ISA – a corresponding ISA number issued by International Searching Authority, India

2. In case where India has been chosen as an IPEA – a corresponding IPEA number issued by International Preliminary Examining, India

3. In case of startups – A certificate of recognition as a startup issued by Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade for Indian applicants and any such eligible document for foreign applicants.

4. In case of small entities – Evidence of registration under the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Act, 2006 for Indian applicants and any such eligible document for foreign applicants.

5. For female applicants – A valid photo identity card as evidence of eligibility in case of both Indian and foreign applicants.

6. For eligibility as a department of the Government – any document of proof in case of both Indian or foreign applicants.

7. For eligibility as an institution established by a Central, Provincial or State Act, which is owned or controlled by the Government – any document of proof in case of both Indian or foreign applicants.

8. For eligibility as a Government company as defined in clause (45) of section 2 of the Companies Act, 2013 – any document of proof in case of both Indian or foreign applicants.

9. For eligibility as an institution wholly or substantially financed by the Government – any document of proof in case of both Indian or foreign applicants.

10. For applicants in sectors that have been notified by the Central Government, based on a request from the head of the department of the Central Government – the corresponding notification letter and valid documents as required by the Controller.

11. For applications within an agreement between Indian Patent Office and a foreign Patent Office – declarations and valid documents as required by the Controller.