Future Impacts on the IP Industry: From AI to Brexit

Belinda Gascoyne

Do you know how trends like Artificial Intelligence (AI) are affecting the IP sector? In this interview Belinda Gascoyne from IBM is talking about the future trends in the IP industry. Additionally, we are discussing the impact of Brexit in this industry.

Belinda Gascoyne is Senior IP Law Counsel at IBM where she heads up a team providing all aspects of IP Law support for IBM in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Belinda is a Chartered and European Patent Attorney with a background in Physics and has wide practical experience in drafting, filing and prosecuting patent applications as well as in IP strategy, patent management and copyright issues. Before joining IBM in 2004, Belinda worked in private practice in London.

Belinda is also actively involved in policy matters and is currently President of the IP Federation, a member of the techUK IPR Committee, the Digital Europe Patents Working Group, and a director of the ORoPO Foundation (the Open Register of Patent Ownership).

Use of New AI Tools

How is Artificial Intelligence affecting the IP industry?

In numerous ways, from the increased automation of patent offices and the legal industry through the use of new AI tools, which seek to increase efficiency and save users money; to issues of copyright and invention ownership for works authored or invented by AI systems; to those who are trying to obtain patents for AI technology and are encountering problems, in certain jurisdictions, with regard to patentable subject-matter exceptions which may be preventing protection of valuable inventions in the field.

IBM in the IP Industry

How is IBM dealing with new trends like AI and cognitive computing?

I am not an IBM business leader in this area, but there is a very large team in IBM which is applying AI, such as IBM Watson, to many industries including the legal market place, for example e-discovery and contract review tools. We also have an IP Management Solutions team, which is using AI to help with prior art searching, building evidence of use for licensing negotiations and which is also looking at other ways of applying AI to our IP operations.


Between Collaboration and Competition

In a nutshell: Which future trends have IP companies to keep an eye on?

Well, there is a technical convergence ongoing in that software is now permeating everything – virtually every company now has a stake in software. Software is being used as a development platform, for example to model future products, even simple products which have no software within them, as well as in manufacturing and operations. Even the life sciences industry is increasingly reliant on the use of software and IT – consider, for example, online modelling of new drugs and 3D printing of live tissues. As industries such as pharma and tech become more closely aligned, there will be the possibility of both greater collaboration between life sciences and tech companies, as well as greater competition and perhaps inevitably more disputes.

With regard to IP, it is noteworthy that in the past pharma and tech industries have had very different IP licensing models (pharma relying on exclusivity, tech not so much) which will increasingly have to co-exist – interesting times ahead!

Impact of Brexit

How is the situation of the European patent system since Brexit?

UK, Europe

Brexit will have minimal impact on the existing European patent system as the European Patent Convention (EPC) is not an EU instrument and thus the UK can continue to be a Member State of the EPC even after Brexit. The delay to German ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA), caused by the German constitutional challenge which is waiting to be heard by the constitutional court, is delaying the start of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) system. We still hope this will come into force, and that the UK, which has already ratified the UPCA, will be able to participate both in the unitary patent and the UPC after Brexit.

Finally we are happy that Belinda Gascoyne is part of the IP Service World 2018 where she will tell us more about Intellectual Property and Artificial Intelligence.

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