Exploring AI in IP: IAM Emerging Technologies

Nigel Swycher

The UK is committed to being a global center of excellence for AI development and regulation.

Given the implications for global industry (which is touched upon briefly in the foreword of this year’s Innovation Momentum Report), we’ll be covering AI more closely with some of our foremost thought leaders.

Starting this series off is Nigel Swycher, Founder and CEO of LexisNexis Cipher Classification, who attended IAM’s recent conference on IP and Emerging Technologies in London.

In this post, Nigel recaps some of the main questions which came up – and provides some answers.

About Nigel

Nigel Swycher is co-founder and CEO of LexisNexis Cipher – His background is in in law, where he led the IP practice at leading law firm Slaughter and May.

Nigel has been recognised for many years by the IAM 300 as a leader in the field of IP strategy.

Questions Posed at the Conference

Will AI Impact the IP Profession?

That’s a ‘Yes’. While most of the companies and firms on the panels were actively exploring, there was still some hesitation.

Some of that comes from trust and transparency (‘How do they do that?’ ‘Should I tell the client?’).

Other challenges are rooted in the systemic threat to business models e.g. if the machine can do the work faster, what’s the impact on the hallowed ground surrounding the hourly rate?  

What’s the Role of Regulation?

The presentation by Nedko Nedev from PA Consulting was outstanding and mind-blowing in equal measure.

We should all be tracking the progress of the EU AI Act. It’s worthy in its objectives and a flight of fancy in its current form.

The idea of some manner of automated checking of the output of AI decision tools cannot be the solution. Unless we like the idea of one AI checking another’s AI homework 

Is Data More Important than IP?

There was no problem getting to the starting line. AI needs training data and for Gen AI (Large Language Models) a colossal amount of data from a broad range of external sources.

Wide ranging views from that point on. Three takeaways:

First, data is a multidisciplinary sport and will require management by stakeholders from across the business.

Second, move quickly. Your business receives and releases vast quantities of data every day, and we only need to look back on the adoption cycle for open source to know that no one is standing still while the law catches up.

Thirdly, it’s not a competition where there needs to be a winner. The most valuable companies of the future will be those who manage their assets for the optimum blend of value creation and risk mitigation.

Can Current IP Laws Cope with LLMs?

It’s not so long ago that we were debating where software was protected by copyright and we’re still not sure whether its patentable. So that’s a yes, but

The but comes the need for us to be pragmatic in the face of uncertainty. It will breed a new generation of lawyers who are valued for their ability to manage risk and not strive to eliminate it.

While we know (at least today) that AI can’t be the inventor on a patent, we all know that creativity is no longer the exclusive domain of humans. The most recent WIPO paper on this topic is a useful recap of the challenges that lie ahead. 

Nigel’s view

As we approach the first anniversary of Cipher’s acquisition by LexisNexis IP Solutions here’s my own perspective: 

  • Be curious and be patient
    AI has a history dating back at least 50 years or more, and Cipher’s machine learning platform was launched 11 years ago. When market leading brands such as RELX and LexisNexis invest so explicitly in the potential of these technologies expect transformation. But Rome wasn’t built in a day. 
  • It takes longer, then happens quicker
    Not so long ago, patent analytics was dominated by Boolean search. Now AI is table stakes. But there will be many approaches that don’t deliver. That’s normal. 
  • Start with the Why?
    As AI is applied liberally across the IP land legal landscape, you can’t deploy it all. Start with the problem you need to solve and the provider who has a credible basis for saying that they have the solution. The launch of PatentSight+ marks a new era in patent search and analytics. It’s a combination of high-quality data from multiple sources and the right technologies on a platform that delivers powerful visualizations that reduce the time to insight. No one of this is the winning ticket, you need all of them. 

Let Nigel know what you think

You can follow Nigel’s updates and thoughts on LinkedIn. If you’d like to find out more about what LexisNexis Cipher can offer, please feel free to contact us.

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