Overview of FinTech Patents: Infographic by Relecura

The financial technology (FinTech) sector is undergoing a digital revolution. Several startups and newer companies are challenging the incumbents, using digital platforms to deliver products and services more efficiently and employing better business models. We came across a very interesting infographic created by Relecura which gives an overview of the FinTech patents. The infographic gives an overview of the top FinTech patent holders along with their filing trends. Relecura offers an analytics platform for technology developers, inventors, IP professionals and corporate leaders. The platform is used to extract insights and provide analytics from large data sets of patent documents and repositories of science and technology information.

Here are some of our findings after the analysis of the Infographic:

1. The US is the most active market for FinTech as indicated by the preferred jurisdictions for patent filings by the top players with 45,410 patents. It is followed by Japan with 16,978 patents and Korea with a total of 9,902 FinTech patents. India has around 589 patents registered with it and New Zealand has the lowest patents with only 318 patents filed within the country.

2. American multinational financial services corporation Visa is the top patent holder. The card provider has around 1,342 patents filed within its name. Visa is followed by Bank of America and Hitachi with 1,052 and 1,048 patents respectively. Global payment technology solutions company First Data has around 603 patents registered with its name. ATM manufacturer Diebold has around 566 patents.

3. Under FinTech, the payments category has the highest number of patents (around 50,446) filed within it. The payments category is followed by banking with 21,571 patents and wealth management with around 12,011 patents registered within it. Capital market, insurance and lending follow the list with 9,489 patents, 6,652 patents and 6,592 patents respectively.

4. Key enabling technology categories in the FinTech space include data & analytics, Internet-of-Things (IoT), mobile platform, security, cloud computing and cryptocurrency. Under technological categories, data & analytics have the maximum number of FinTech patents filed within it (29,955). Data & analytics is followed by IoT with 29,946 and mobile platform with around 19,412 patents.

5. In the unicorns category (companies that have soared to a $1-billion valuation or higher, based on fundraising), Square took the first position with 143 patents followed by Mozido and Powa with 58 and 17 patients respectively.

6. In sectors apart from FinTech, NTT has the highest number of patents filed under the telecom category. Under the IT category, SAP has registered highest number of patents (373) followed by Accenture and Oracle with 302,213 patents respectively. Under retailers, Target has around 70 patents while Walmart has around 41 patents filed under its name.

7. The top 200 patent holders own only 39% of the FinTech patents in the key categories. Thus, the FinTech patents are spread over many assignees. Key financial entities holding patents include Bizmodeline, First Data, Diebold followed by Intuit, Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Hartford.

8. Top patent holders like Visa, Bank of America and MasterCard have ramped up their filings post-2007. There was a large spike in the filings of Shinhan Bank between 2006 and 2009 which has tapered off. IBM, which had a decrease in its FinTech patent filings after 2001, has again started filing FinTech-related patents in 2012. MasterCard significantly increased its FinTech patent filings in 2013.

9. American Express sold patents to multiple companies including III Holdings 1 LLC, Xatra Fund and Propulsion Remote Holdings LLC. IBM sold patents to eBay, Google and Toshiba. Google acquired patents from IBM and Motorola Mobility.

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Research Methodology:

The patent search was conducted using keywords and classification codes related to FinTech. The patents filed in the last 20 years were considered for analysis; expired patents are omitted. Sub-searches on the FinTech superset were conducted to identify patents related to the various categories based on the specific financial product or service they address. The categories searched for include payment, banking, wealth management, capital market, insurance and lending. An assignment search was conducted to get a list of transfer records for FinTech patents and its categories to identify the key companies involved in transacting patents in this domain.