Sunday, November 12, 2017

AI becoming trendy in the Japanese IP industry

Recently media is crowded with the stories about products and services using artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. The use of AI technologies looks becoming hot equally in the IP industry.

On November 2 2017 Toshiba Digital Solutions (TDS), which was spun off from Toshiba Corporation in July 2017, announced that it has developed the image search technology which allows to identify similar logo, design, emblems and the like. The AI is used for similarity judgement. TDS proposes the use of this technology in the search of trademarks, designs, and copyright work. 

TDS exhibited this technology as a reference at Patent Information Fair & Conference held on November 8 - 10 2017. According to a representative in the booth, it is characterized by (i) extracting elements from the targeted image data object and searching them respectively (See the figure extracted from the TDS's press release, though it is in Japanese.) and (ii) identifying the element even if it is embedded in comparison image data. It might be a useful tool for searchers, since design search requires more effort than text search. It is expected to be available in 2018. On a side note, the Japan Patent Office (JPO) plans to start picture trademark search using AI on a trial basis in 2019, while AI design search is not yet in sight.

In the fair, several IP service companies were found which provide AI solutions for patent search, e.g. FRONTEO and It seems to be, as a whole impression, currently in the stage where the use of  AI itself calls attention to the market. In the next step, each company may be required to demonstrate precision of its AI solution. It’s just an idea, but how about holding a contest in the part of a project like ‘Peer-To-Patent’?

For patent licensing professionals, the EoU (Evidence of Use)  feature of XLPAT may be interesting, which is not a Japanese company’s solution though. It retrieves the Internet information to identify potential infringers based on input patent number and claims.

Any AI solution - If we are going to become more effective in our use of working time, it would be welcome.