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Patent world visionary Toni Nijm: The IP industry will keep pace with innovations through technology


August 28, 2019

Innovations are emerging at an unprecedented rate, and the number of patent applications continues to be on the rise. In the complex patent jungle of the future, those who can harness technology such as artificial intelligence and machine learning will succeed, says Toni Nijm, Chief Strategy Officer at CPA Global.

“Artificial intelligence frees up the capacity of IP professionals to focus their time on more value-adding areas such as competitive analytics and white spaces”, CPA Global’s Chief Strategy Officer Toni Nijm emphasises. CPA Global is the world’s leading Intellectual Property (IP) management and technology company.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are examples of major technological revolutionary factors. They are enmeshed in almost every area of life, and the IP world is no exception. Artificial intelligence and machine learning provide welcome relief for managing and monitoring patent and copyright issues, as new technologies can be used to automate manual processes and find relevant information from huge masses of data in real time.

More complex patents in the future

In the future, innovations will overlap, meaning that patents across industries will become increasingly interlinked. Technology is needed for the IP sector to also keep pace with this IP cross-over in the corporate world. The automotive industry is a good example of this change.

“In the past, there was a clear separation between product and IP in the automotive and telecommunications industry. Today, many innovations are created in the automotive industry that are related to the telecommunications sector, or even to the health industry. For example, cars may incorporate steering technology fully connected to the cloud for various types of services or that monitors certain aspects of the health of the driver.”

Motoring therefore has a strong link to data and the interconnectedness of different devices and technologies. In the future, the patent portfolios of the automotive industry will contain a great deal of solutions and ideas that is not necessarily related to traditional car manufacturing in any way.

Faster responses

In the increasingly complex patent world and IP work, administrative tasks remain the most expensive and risky work step – especially if the process involves IP offices and agents in many different countries and jurisdictions.

“Artificial intelligence and blockchain technology can be used to streamline, refine and speed up cooperation and coordination. In the future, it will certainly be possible to, for example, automatically monitor, sort and control email communications involving various industry stakeholders and even better completely remove duplication of information and the costs and risks it involves”, Nijm says.

According to Nijm, it is primarily a matter of standardising information and making cross-party processes visible and trackable.

“Until a few years ago, we would order a taxi by phone and not have the opportunity to follow what happens between the call and the arrival of the taxi. Now we can see in real time if the taxi is late or the car has changed on the fly. The same change is happening in the IP sector. Instead of requesting and sending, for example, different types of data and documents manually over email, we can utilise platforms to share information and communicate in real time.”

Making the most of blockchain technology

According to Nijm, the IP sector is unfortunately not a pioneer in introducing new technologies. However, blockchain technology, for example, would have much to offer in the management of intellectual property rights.

A blockchain is a technology that enables a decentralised and transparent ledger. With this  technology, operators unfamiliar with each other can together produce and maintain various databases on their own computers in a decentralised manner. Trust comes from the big picture.

“An IP rights registry that is fully trusted by industry stakeholders is a great example of  great use case for blockchains. Rather than sending the copies of data and documents across multiple parties, sending time and money entering such data into IP databases and all the cost and risk that involves, blockchain could simply offer a single source of the truth for all involved parties ”, Nijm says.

China becomes the world’s patent engine

In addition to technological trends, one of the most significant changes in the IP industry is China’s strong rise and upgrade in the intellectual property rights. There are more than a million patent applications in China a year, which is three times the number in the whole of Europe. China wants to become the technology leader in several sectors and it is doing its utmost in order to reach that target. One of the targets is to become the superpower of artificial intelligence technology by 2030.

“The technological development of China is staggering! It is difficult for us in Europe to understand the volumes that China has. For example, artificial intelligence and machine learning require a lot of data and teaching. The more data artificial intelligence absorbs, the more accurate the output from the algorithms become. One of China’s strengths is the enormous quantity of both product development, researchers and vast amounts of data that is already available”, Nijm says.

It is difficult to stop development, and competition is fierce. Nijm is concerned that Finnish business decision-makers are not taking competition from China seriously.

“Companies must take China’s rise into account and also be present where the cutting edge of technological development is. We can no longer talk about a country of production alone, but a truly significant leader in the R&D space of future technologies. So it would be important to find out exactly what we could learn from the operations of Chinese companies. It is also worth considering how your own product development can benefit from China’s extensive knowledge and human resources.”

Read also what Kolster’s patent director, Tapio Äkräs, writes in his blog about blockchains and artificial intelligence, and other IP trends of the future.

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