Quantum computing technologies on the rise


Today the EPO published a patent insight report on quantum computing. It is the second in a series of EPO patent insight reports related to quantum technologies

Over the last decade or so, many large technology companies have been heavily invested in developing quantum computing technologies. It is a highly advantageous and competitive technology that has many advantages over classical systems, such as being able to analyse vast amounts of data that traditional computer systems simply cannot do within reasonable timeframes.

The report provides, in the light of publicly available patent information, an overview of quantum computing at large and the following sub-sectors: physical realisations of quantum computing, quantum error correction and mitigation, and technologies related to quantum computing and artificial intelligence/machine learning.

Some of the key findings of this report are:

  • The number of inventions in the field of quantum computing multiplied over the last decade.
  • Quantum computing inventions show a higher growth rate than in all fields of technology in general.
  • The above-average share of international patent applications suggests high economic expectations with regard to the technologies in question and multinational commercialisation strategy.
  • There is a dynamic patent trend in the sub-sectors 'physical realisations of quantum computing', 'quantum error correction/mitigation' and 'quantum computing and artificial intelligence/machine learning', where the number of inventions also multiplied.

Roughly one out of ten European patent applications in the field of quantum computing has several patent applicants, suggesting active cooperation between them. The patent applicants come from all continents, with a clear focus on the same region or continent.

While the number of inventions for all fields of technology is continuously increasing (right scale), the increase in the field of quantum computing is far above average (left scale). There are no signs that this dynamic development in the field of quantum computing will slow down in the next few years and as we move ever deeper into a more complex digital landscape, it will be more important than ever for innovation, and cooperation within the field, to be encouraged and nurtured so it ensures society as a whole can benefit.


Figure 1 Number of International Patent Families, as a proxy for inventions with high economic expectations, per earliest publication year. (click on image to enlarge)

Further information

EPO Patent Insight Report on quantum computing

Other EPO patent insight reports