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EPO Vice-President of Corporate Services Speaks on Uses of AI in the IP Profession

10-Mar-2024 | Source : The European Patent Office (EPO) | Visits : 565

MUNICH – The European Patent Office (EPO) Vice-President Corporate Services Nellie Simon spoke on the uses of artificial intelligence (AI) in the IP profession, at a major event in London hosted by the IP publisher and intelligence provider IAM. The second edition of IAM’s “IP and Emerging Technology Europe” provided a platform for industry leaders and legal professionals to exchange experience and expertise, with a view to ensuring that innovation can continue to be successfully protected and commercialized in the coming years, according to the official website of EPO. 

As a panelist, in a discussion exploring how generative AI (GenAI) can be expected to transform the IP profession, Ms. Simon underlined the EPO’s commitment to a human-centric approach to the Office’s digital evolution, and emphasized that while GenAI drives remarkable tools that can augment the capabilities of IP professionals, it is not a replacement for human expertise. “The EPO is committed to a human-centric approach to its digital transformation, one that capitalizes on the opportunities provided by AI to allow our staff to do more value-added tasks,” she said.

In answer to the question about how much gain in productivity is expected from AI, Ms. Simon explained, "of course we expect to see more efficiency and higher productivity as a result of using AI, and we do see that. But for the EPO, our focus is much more on quality – how AI helps us to achieve better quality in the work that we do, thanks to more consistency. Take classification for example, it’s not only about reducing manual work and getting efficiency gains, it’s more about improved accuracy and consistency, ultimately contributing to better quality."

With AI impacting almost all aspects of innovation ecosystems, including industry and the legal profession, there is significant scope for it to bolster the effectiveness, quality and consistency of patent search and examination processes, as well as related classification and translation services. Here, the EPO’s recently announced CPC text categorizer is a case in point.

Ms. Simon elaborated on how the Office is integrating AI into the patent granting process by developing customized internal tools based on adapted language models that leverage the unique knowledge base of the EPO. This reflects the Office’s approach to adapting AI solutions to meet the specific needs of the EPO, she continued, while also upholding the highest standards when it comes to ethical and practical considerations, including the key priority of data privacy and protection.

The second edition of IP and Emerging Technology Europe was part of a series of events organized by IAM. The EPO has topped the IAM survey of the world's five largest patent offices for the quality of patents and services ever since the survey began in 2010.

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