Patenting trends in biometric technology of the Big Five patent offices

Jong Wook Lee, Won Kyung Lee, So Young Sohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


We examined the overall trends in biometric technology based on patent documents. Using PATSTAT database, we extracted 37,462 patent documents applied at the Big Five patent offices between 1990 and 2016. Latent Dirichlet allocation was applied to their abstracts to observe annual trends by topic. Our results are as follows: Fingerprint-enabled car anti-theft systems have been undergoing rapid technological development since 2014. In response, biometric signal transmitting models are becoming popular owing to concerns about theft of biometric templates. While fingerprint, face, and iris authentication technologies continue to advance, finger vein, voice, and signature authentication technologies are lagging. Use of biometric technologies in financial transactions, server networks, and digital media content security are decreasing as well. A citation analysis discovered key topics and patent applicants: Surprisingly, the quantitative growth rate of topics and the effect on the knowledge network showed an inverse relationship. US firms had the most citations, but fewer backward citations of own work, unlike Japanese companies. We provide practical insights to stakeholders of biometric technology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102040
JournalWorld Patent Information
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jun

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (MSIT) ( 2020R1A2C2005026 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Library and Information Sciences


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