The Korea Herald


South Korean patents in core future technologies lag in quality: report

By Lee Sun-young

Published : Aug. 29, 2021 - 15:35

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South Korea is churning out patents in core areas of the “fourth industrial revolution,” but their impact is falling far short of matching up to this, a recent report shows.

According to the state-run Korea Institute of Science & Technology Evaluation and Planning’s latest analysis of the country’s technological innovation capability, the country ranked third out of 44 countries surveyed in terms of the number of patents registered in the US in nine selected fields in 2019 and 2020.

South Korea owns a total of 188,160 patents in the categories, which include artificial intelligence, big data, the internet of things, autonomous driving, 3D printing and digital health care, trailing only the US and Japan.

But when it comes to the quality of the patents, which could be measured by the number of citations, the country’s ranking falls to 20, with citations per patent standing at just 2.8.

The country with the most citations per patent was Iceland at 11.2, followed by the US at 6.2.

“This means that South Korea’s ownership of high-quality patents didn’t measure up to its overall patent quantity,” the institute said.

By category, the largest number of US patents owned by South Korea were in the field of the cloud, at 16,161, followed by big data at 15,642 and the internet of things at 12,874.