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10 Charts That Will Change Your Perspective Of Amazon's Patent Growth

by Louis Columbus, on Aug 15, 2019 12:15:00 PM

跳转到简体中文 (jump to Simplified Chinese):10 张图表,以不同角度看亚马逊的专利增长趋势

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  • Since 2010 Amazon has grown its patent portfolio from less than 1,000 active patents in 2010 to nearly 10,000 in 2019, a ten-fold increase in less than a decade.
  • Amazon heavily cites Microsoft, IBM, and Alphabet, with 39%, 32% and 28% of Amazon’s total Patent Asset Index
  • Amazon’s patent portfolio is dominated by Cloud Computing, with the majority of the patents contributing to AWS’ current and future services roadmap. AWS achieved 41% year-over-year revenue growth in the latest fiscal quarter, reaching $7.6B in revenue.

Patents are fascinating because they provide a glimpse into potential plans, and roadmaps tech companies are considering. Amazon has one of the most interesting patent portfolios today that encompass a wide spectrum of technologies, from aircraft technology, drones, cloud computing, to machine learning. Interested in learning more about Amazon’s unique patent portfolio, I contacted PatentSight, a LexisNexis company, one of the leading providers of patent analytics and provider of the PatentSight analytics platform used for creating the ten charts shown below.

1. Amazon patents grew at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of above 35% between 2010 and 2019.

PatentSight’s analysis shows that Amazon’s patent portfolio has increased tenfold in the last decade, and is comprised entirely of organic patents with only a small percentage gained from acquisitions. PatentSight also finds that Amazon’s patents have a falling average quality as measured by their Competitive Impact score shown on the vertical axis of the chart below. As Amazon’s patent portfolio has grown, there has been a downward trend of quality. William Mansfield, Head of Consulting and Customer Success at LexisNexis PatentSight explains why. “To maintain a high quality when growing the portfolio is difficult, as each patent would need to be equally as good as or better than the previous,” he said. Mr. Mansfield’s analysis found that Amazon’s portfolio has an average Competitive Impact of 2 today, double the PatentSight database average of 1.

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2. Amazon’s patent portfolio is unique in that 100% of it is protected in the U.S.

The protection strategy of Amazon is also uncommon. While it can be the case that US firms tend to be US-centric, Amazon is an extreme case,” said William Mansfield. It’s surprising how many Amazon patents are active only in the USA (86%) and invented in the USA and active only in the USA (81%). William explained that “one factor for this US-centricity could be the great acceptance of software patents in the USA, we do also see high US-only filing for other tech giants, but are a level of around 60% vs. Amazon’s 86%.”

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3. PatentSight found that the majority of the Amazon portfolio falls in the 2nd decile of Competitive Impact (top 20% - 10%). 

Comparable technology-based organizations have a higher density of patents in the top 10% of Competitive Impact, which is another unusual aspect regarding Amazon’s patent growth. “This is unusual compared to other big tech companies which have more in the top 10%, it could be Amazon is holding onto more lower value assets than required,” William Mansfield remarked.

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4. Amazon’s patent citations most often cite Microsoft, IBM, and Alphabet, with 39%, 32% and 28% of Amazon’s total Patent Asset Index.

Interesting that PatentSight’s analysis finds the reciprocal is not the case. A much smaller percentage of companies cite Amazon in return. This can be attributed to a few other firms having the breadth and depth of patent development that Amazon does today.  PatentSight found that less than 10% of their respective portfolios even mention Amazon.  William Mansfield explains that “one factor here is the larger size of these companies, vs. Amazon. However, even in absolute terms, Microsoft and IBM cite Amazon much less than the other way round. However, citation value is close to equal in absolute terms between Amazon and Alphabet.”

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5. Relying on patents to keep AWS’ rapid growth going appears to be Amazon’s high priority patent strategy today. 

As can be seen from the portfolio below, Cloud Computing patents dominate Amazon’s patent portfolio today. In the latest fiscal quarter ending March 31, 2019, AWS delivered $7.9B in revenue and$2.2B in operating income, growing 41% year-over-year. “Amazon’s ongoing developments in alternative delivery methods in Urban Logistics and Drones are noteworthy with Drones being one area of particular strength in the portfolio as seen from the high Competitive Impact, despite the smaller portfolio size,” notes William Mansfield.

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6. Amazon’s prioritization of cloud computing, AI, and machine learning patents is evident when 18 years of patent history is compared. 

The proliferation of AI and machine learning-based services on the AWS platform is apparent in the trend line starting in 2014. The success of Amazon’s SageMaker machine learning platform is a case in point. Amazon SageMaker enables developers and data scientists to quickly and easily build, train, and deploy machine learning models at scale.

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7. Amazon is already one of the top 10 patent holders in Drone technology, just behind Alphabet and Toyota Motors. 

PatentSight defines Drone technology as encompassing aviation, autonomous robots, and autonomous driving. Amazon’s rapid ascent in this area is attributable to the logistics and supply chain efficiencies possible when Drones and their related technologies are applied to their supply chain’s more complex challenges.

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8. PatentSight finds that FinTech is an area of long-standing strength in the Amazon patent portfolio, attribute to their payment systems being the backbone of their e-commerce business. 

Reflecting how diverse their business model has become, Amazon is now one of the top 15 patent holders in this area due to cloud computing, AI, and machine learning taking precedence. “FinTech is a highly competitive field with many established players, and while Amazon is not in the top 10, but top 15 players, it’s still an impressive achievement,” said William Mansfield.

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9. Amazon’s patent portfolio in speech recognition encompasses Alexa, its related patents, and Amazon Lex, an AWS service used for creating conversational interfaces for applications.

Alphabet, Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung are patent leaders, according to PatentSight’s analysis. The fact that Amazon is in the top 10 speaks to the level of activity and patent production going on in the Alexa research and development and product teams.

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10. Amazon’s patent strategy is eclectic yet always anchored to cloud computing to make AWS the platform of choice. 

The following selected patens reflect how broad the Amazon patent portfolio is. What each share in common is a reliance on AWS as the platform to ensure service consistency, reliability, and scale. An example of this is their patents Video Game Streaming.

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About the Author

I am currently serving as Principal, IQMS, part of Dassault Systèmes. Previous positions include product management at Ingram Cloud, product marketing at iBASEt, Plex Systems, senior analyst at AMR Research (now Gartner), marketing and business development at Cincom Systems, Ingram Micro, a SaaS start-up and at hardware companies. I am also a member of the Enterprise Irregulars. My background includes marketing, product management, sales and industry analyst roles in the enterprise software and IT industries. My academic background includes an MBA from Pepperdine University and completion of the Strategic Marketing Management and Digital Marketing Programs at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. I teach MBA courses in international business, global competitive strategies, international market research, and capstone courses in strategic planning and market research. I've taught at California State University, Fullerton: University of California, Irvine; Marymount University, and Webster University. You can reach me on Twitter at @LouisColumbus. Follow me on Twitter or LinkedInCheck out my website.


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10 张图表,以不同角度看亚马逊的专利增长趋势

  • 自 2010 年以来,亚马逊专利组合中的有效专利已从 2010 年的不到 1,000 项激增到 2019 年的将近 10,000 项,有效专利数量在不到十年的时间内翻了十倍。
  • 亚马逊大量引用微软、IBM 和 Alphabet 的专利,其引用量分别占亚马逊专利总资产指数的 39%、32% 和 28%。
  • 云计算专利在亚马逊的专利组合中占主导地位,其中大部分专利都为 AWS 当前和未来的服务路线图做出了贡献。在最近一个财季,AWS 收入达到 76 亿美元,收入同比增长 41%。

专利是一项很有吸引力的内容,因为通过它可以一窥科技公司正在考虑的潜在计划及路线图。亚马逊拥有当今最有趣的专利组合之一,涵盖了飞机技术、无人机、云计算、机器学习等广泛领域的技术。因为有兴趣深入了解亚马逊独特的专利组合,于是我联系了 LexisNexis 旗下公司 PatentSight,该公司是专利分析的一流提供商之一,也是提供用于创建如下所示十个图表的 PatentSight 分析平台的提供商。

2010 年至 2019 年,亚马逊专利以 35% 以上的复合年增长率 (CAGR) 增长。

PatentSight 的分析显示,亚马逊的专利组合在过去 10 年里增长了 10 倍,并完全由自然专利组成,只有一小部分是从收购中获得的。PatentSight 还发现,根据下图纵轴所示的竞争影响力评分,亚马逊专利的平均质量呈下降趋势。随着亚马逊专利组合的增长,其专利质量却呈下降趋势。LexisNexis PatentSight 的咨询和客户成功负责人 William Mansfield 解释了出现这种情形的原因。“在增加专利组合时,要保持高质量较为困难,因为每一项专利都需要与前一项专利一样持平或更胜一筹,”他说。Mansfield 先生的分析发现,如今亚马逊的专利组合平均竞争影响力为 2,是 PatentSight 数据库平均竞争影响力的两倍。

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亚马逊的专利组合较为独特,在美国 100% 受到保护。

“亚马逊的保护策略也很不寻常。尽管美国公司往往以美国为中心,但亚马逊更为突出。”威廉曼斯菲尔德说。只在美国有效的亚马逊专利有 86%,在美国发明且只在美国有效的有 81%,数量之多令人惊讶。William 解释说:“出现这种以美国为中心的情形,一个因素可能是美国对软件专利的接受程度较高,我们也发现,其他科技巨头也仅在美国申请专利,但与亚马逊的 86% 相比,这个数字约为 60%。”

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PatentSight 发现,亚马逊大部分的专利组合在竞争影响力中排名第二(前 20% - 10%

根据对比分析发现,以技术为基础的组织拥有更高密度的专利,占据了竞争影响力的前 10%,这是亚马逊专利增长的另一个不寻常之处。William Mansfield 表示:“与其他排名前 10% 的大型科技公司相比,这是不寻常的,可能是因为亚马逊持有的价值资产低于所需。”

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亚马逊的专利引用大多引用自微软、IBM 和 Alphabet,分别占亚马逊专利总资产指数的 39%、32% 和 28%。

有趣的是,PatentSight 的分析发现引用亚马逊专利的情况却很少。只有极少的一部分公司引用亚马逊的专利。这可能是因为其他这些公司拥有亚马逊目前所拥有的专利开发的广度和深度。PatentSight 发现,在其他公司各自的专利组合中,提到亚马逊的甚至不到 10%。William Mansfield 解释说:“出现这种情形的其中一个因素是,与亚马逊相比,这些公司的规模更大。然而,即使以绝对值计算,微软和 IBM 对亚马逊专利的引用也远远少于亚马逊对他们的引用。但是,亚马逊和 Alphabet 之间的引用值,如果按绝对值计算则接近相等。

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依靠专利来保持 AWS 的快速增长似乎是亚马逊目前的优先专利战略。

从下面的专利组合图中可以看出,云计算专利如今在亚马逊的专利组合中占主导地位。在截至 2019 年 3 月 31 日的最新财季,AWS 收入达到 79 亿美元,营收 22 亿美元,同比增长 41%。“亚马逊正在开发城市物流的替代送货方式,无人机这一项十分值得注意,尽管其专利组合规模较小,但从其较高的竞争影响力来看,无人机仍是其专利组合中特别强劲的一个领域,”William Mansfield 指出。

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对比 18 年的专利历史可以发现,亚马逊优先考虑云计算、人工智能和机器学习的专利。

从 2014 年开始的趋势线显示,人工智能和基于机器学习的服务在 AWS 平台上显著激增。亚马逊 SageMaker 机器学习平台的成功就是一个很好的例子。亚马逊 SageMaker 能够助力开发人员和数据科学家快速、轻松地构建、训练并大规模部署机器学习模型。

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亚马逊已经是无人机技术领域的十大专利持有者之一,排名仅次于 Alphabet 和丰田汽车。

PatentSight 将无人机技术定义为包括航空、自动机器人和自动驾驶。亚马逊在这一领域的迅速崛起,得益于将无人机及其相关技术应用到供应链更复杂的挑战中,使其物流和供应链的效率大大提高。

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PatentSight 发现,在亚马逊的专利组合中,金融科技是一个长期优势领域,这要归功于其支付系统是电商业务的支柱。

由于云计算、人工智能和机器学习的优势,亚马逊目前是该领域排名前 15 的专利持有者之一,这反映出他们的商业模式的多样化。William Mansfield 表示:“金融科技是一个竞争非常激烈的领域,许多老牌公司都参与其中,虽然亚马逊并未跻身前 10,但却进入了前 15,这仍然是一个令人印象深刻的成就。

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亚马逊在语音识别领域的专利组合包括 Alexa 及其相关专利,以及亚马逊 Alex,一种用于为应用程序创建会话接口的 AWS 服务。

根据 PatentSight 的分析,Alphabet、苹果、微软和三星是排名靠前的专利领导者。亚马逊进入前 10 证明了 Alexa 研发和产品团队的活动和专利生产水平。

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亚马逊的专利策略不拘一格,但始终与云计算挂钩,使 AWS 成为首选平台。

以下精选专利体现了亚马逊专利组合的广泛程度。它们的共同点是以 AWS 为平台,确保服务的一致性、可靠性和可伸缩性,其中一个例子就是他们的视频游戏流媒体专利。

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关于作者:

网站 www.softwarestrategiesblog.com。

Louis Columbus

我目前在达索系统收购的 IQMS 公司担任负责人。之前曾在 Ingram Cloud 从事产品管理,在 iBASEt、Plex Systems 从事产品营销,在 AMR Research(现为 Gartner)担任高级分析师,在 Cincom Systems、软件即服务创业公司 Ingram Micro 以及硬件公司从事营销和业务开发。同时,我也是 Enterprise Irregulars 的成员。从业背景包括企业软件和 IT 行业的营销、产品管理、销售和行业分析师角色。我的学术背景包括佩珀代因大学 MBA 学位以及在斯坦福商学研究生院修完战略营销管理和数字营销课程。我教授国际商务、全球竞争战略、国际市场研究 MBA 课程以及战略规划和市场研究的顶峰课程。我曾在加州州立大学富勒顿分校、加州大学欧文分校、玛丽蒙特大学和韦伯斯特大学任教。您可以在 Twitter 上通过 @LouisColumbus 联系我。

如需了解更多或分析平台演示,请访问我们的网站www.patentsight.com或关注LexisNexis IP 微信。

Topics:"Trend scouting""Future""Technology""Patent Analysis""Deep-dive""Solutions provider"IP Data QualityPatent ValuationPatent Asset IndexBig DataIP BenchmarkingBenchmarking

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