Managing IP with Artificial Intelligence and Digital Transformation

Artificial Intelligence

Digital Transformation and Artificial Intelligence are current topics that influence IP management today and in the future. Is your IP department ready for the change? Or do you feel overwhelmed by the diverse technological options and don’t know which ones to choose?

At the IP Service World 2018, we interviewed a lot of professionals on the topic ‘managing IP with Artificial Intelligence’. Their answers were both informative and mind-changing and we are excited to share them with you.

If you need some guidance, stay tuned and check out the experts’ insights!

Managing IP with Artificial Intelligence

Some people are afraid that AI will take over their jobs, but Belinda Gascoyne from IBM thinks differently: “At IBM we like to see AI as an Augmented Intelligence. It is a tool that helps humans to do their job faster, better and more efficiently rather than replacing their jobs.”

Therefore, using AI for managing IP can be very helpful when it comes to simple tasks like patent searching, keyword classification and machine translation. Gascoyne continues:

AI is here and now – it is not a fiction for the future. Legal professionals can already use AI for work.

Belinda Gascoyne, Senior Counsel, EMEA IPLaw, IBM

Above all, the successful IT Advisor IBM is highly involved in AI development. They even have a special business division, which is called “IBM Watson Division”. The company thought long and hard about trade secrets as an alternative to protecting patents. Still, Gascoyne told us that this is not possible because “the world of AI is moving on so fast that we have the feeling that within the 18 months before publication, our competitors are likely to have caught up, so we will stick to the patenting strategy.”

Managing IP with Digital Transformation

Other experts prefer Digital Transformation as a whole to manage IP, instead of just focussing on AI. The IP director at Brose Group Dr. Beate Avenhaus, for example, told us that „IP departments and IP firms have to set up IP tools in a fully electronic format“. By doing so, companies should digitalize their data fully and exchange documents not via e-mail with the IP department/advisor but via other cloud or portal based solutions.

These developments seem to be lucrative at first sight. However, Prof. Dr. Klemens Skibicki, a consultant for Digital Transformation, underlines the challenges companies have to face when it comes to digitalization.

The first step for companies to manage the process of digital transformation is to talk about the same thing. What are the main drivers of digitalization? This is what I am missing in many companies. They are doing many things but probably not out of one thought.

Prof. Dr. Klemens Skibicki, Profski GmbH

This is why advisory can be very helpful for companies especially for digitalization in combination with IP. The consultant also emphasizes the difficulties encountered when it comes to the legal framework: „For intellectual property right it is important to understand that the legal framework of today is based on the opportunities of the past. Digitalization is changing these opportunities now and the legal framework will change automatically too. People should be aware of that and make plans on how to adapt.“ In fact, digitalization is not only about a change in technology, but also in the minds of people.

Steve Gong, Head of Intellectual Property Management Software at Google, has a similar opinion:

Technical transformation is only an aspect of digital transformation, but a big part of it is also cultural change. You must be able to see yourself in a new light. It is not just about automating something that is already done – it is about reinventing processes. That is really hard.

Steve Gong, Global Patents, Google

In fact, the Google Manager admits that the legal industry is very slow as far as digital transformation is concerned. This is because a lot of lawyer’s work depends on certain circumstances that cannot be measured or verified easily. However, he is convinced that they will still find a way for digital transformation.

There already exist several tools to help people manage their IP and drive insights from their IP analytics as well as AI tools, machine learning and blockchain. The problem is not based on the accessibility of these tools, but in their successful and effective implementation. For Steve Gong, a tool is only valuable if specified business goals can be quantified and measured. This measurement is what makes technology in IP a challenge.

Finally, digital transformation can be highly valuable for Intellectual Property – if both the company and IP advisors are on the same level. To reach that point, employees need to change their mindset when it comes to technology. Prof. Dr. Klemens Skibicki outlines that only then technological tools become effective for the company.

How the work as a patent attorney will change due to digitalization

Patent attorney’s daily tasks are expected to be modified when it comes to digitalization. Dr. Beate Avenhaus is convinced that „it will move from the classical work to more cooperation within teams and departments. Of course, you have to know your IP law, but it is also about having the focus on the business and being the partner to the managers, teams and engineers within the company.” Therefore, the patent attorney job becomes more about communicating and will be based on soft skills. Conducting conversations and moving topics forward are expected to become the main tasks.

The Head of Corporate Intellectual Property Support at Siemens AG Michael Gollwitzer advocates this development. For him, the “challenge in the IP department will be to bring tools to the patent attorney that they can use to spend less time on formalities and more time on lawyer work”.

Five experts for IP and digitalization have given insights about how these components can work together effectively and succeed in the future. Do you want to gain more knowledge about these highly current topics and issues?

Stay tuned for the IP Service World 2019!

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