Saturday, August 26, 2017

AI v. Crowd Searching? - Article One Partners expands their business to Japanese market

In May, the partnership between Article One Partners (AOP), an patent research community, and Intralink, a consultancy specializing in market-entry and business development services was announced. A couple weeks ago, I had a chance to learn AOP's business from Will Jasprizza, Head of IPR and Managing Director of Intralink Japan.

AOP owns a network of 40,000+ researchers in more than 170 countries worldwide, and gives rewards to a researcher who successfully identifies the best literature to invalidate a target patent.

Recently, we see news report on AI-based services introduced in various industries every day. So, you may think that such a literature search service will be replaced by AI technologies soon. In fact, some companies already provide patent literature search system which uses AI technologies, and I have taken such system out for a spin to compare the results with our in-house researcher's. From our experience, human searchers are likely to have an advantage compared to the AI-based system for the near future.

However, as for patent literature search, the crowd searching may not capitalize on its strength. Because it almost depends on prepared search strings and scope of search (e.g. country, time period, database). In this field, AI system may come to help with most of the work in the near future, and human researchers just have to review the literature identified by the system. Probably, it is an ideal patent search system, when AI search system becomes more sensible.

Instead, I see more potential in the crowd searching (human search engine) when it is used for searching something out of the reach of the computer, e.g. investigating counterfeit goods in meatspace. In addition, it may have room for improvement in efficiency of research by managing their researchers not to conduct duplicated work.

Anyway, I'm expecting AOP to play an active role in Japan. Sony Corporation is introduced as a user in Japan of AOP's human search engine. I will wait hopefully for Sony publishing an experience report.

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