Last month, I was very lucky to participate in the renowned WIPO-UNIGE Summer Programme on Intellectual Property Law. Being able to get a glimpse behind the scenes of WIPO, naturally led me to contemplate the role and significance of modern technologies within this system. It seems to me that I haven’t come across a written piece that talks about the overall picture of WIPO’s technological solutions in one place. And thus, this article was born.
In recent years, intellectual property law has gained popularity among lawyers, businesses, and creators. The global filing activity for IP applications has reached approximately 25 million applications annually. Alongside storage, proper organization and accessibility of data are essential. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), one of the UN agencies established in 1967, has been actively responding to the demands of the digital era.
WIPO’s Treasure Chests
Naturally, WIPO deals with a vast amount of information. Without modern technologies, IP administration would be impossible. The Global Databases Division, a part of WIPO, is responsible for implementing and operating WIPO’s public global databases. It ensures the worldwide accessibility and maintenance of such data. Now let’s look at four databases that prove invaluable when working with intellectual property.
- The PATENTSCOPE Database provides access to published International PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) applications, patent documents from participating national and regional offices, as well as non-patent literature.
- The Global Brand Database offers access to international trademark collections under the Madrid System, appellations of origin and geographical indications under the Lisbon System, and trademarks from participating national and regional offices.
- The Global Design Database provides free access to international designs under the Hague system, along with designs from participating national and regional offices.
- WIPO Lex offers free access to legal information on intellectual property from around the world. It is organised into three collections: IP laws and regulations, WIPO-administered treaties and IP-related treaties, and IP judgments.
Where AI Enters the Game
Apart from its extensive digital archives, WIPO actively integrates AI-involving solutions into its daily tasks. The Advanced Technology Applications Center (ATAC) at WIPO takes on the very important role of being one of the pioneers in adapting AI systems to specific IP needs.
AI & Text
- WIPO Translate is an advanced translation tool developed by the ATAC team. It enables automated translation of patent documents, scientific articles, and technical content. WIPO Translate supports multiple language pairs, facilitating knowledge exchange and understanding on a global scale.
- WIPO Speech-to-Text converts spoken language into written text, aiding accurate and timely transcription during meetings. It can be customised to specific needs, improving transcription accuracy and efficiency for particular speakers, vocabulary, or domain-specific terminology.
AI & Classification
In the era of big data, classification structures have become more complex. Manual classification of IP materials could be rather time-consuming. To address this, WIPO’s ATAC team developed AI-based systems for IP classification.
- Automatic Patent Classification employs advanced machine learning algorithms to classify patent documents into specific areas. This helps to facilitate patent examination processes, improve search accuracy, and work with relevant patent information.
- Likewise, the Vienna Classification Assistant streamlines trademark classification processes. By recommending appropriate classification codes, the tool helps to achieve higher efficiency in line with the Vienna Classification system, which deals with figurative elements of trademarks.
AI & Image
When dealing with brands and designs, a significant part of the work revolves around the processing and analysis of images.
- The Global Brand Database has been updated with an image similarity search feature. Due to this AI-driven solution, users can find similar or identical trademarks by uploading images or logos into the search system. Not only does it assist with trademark clearance searches, but it also helps users to avoid potential trademark infringements.
- In this field, the ATAC team is presently focusing on developing image similarity search functionalities for the Global Design Database. Hopefully, we will soon be able to benefit from another AI-driven solution.
How to Get Involved
The Eighth Session of the WIPO Conversation on “Generative AI and IP” is an exciting opportunity to engage with these topics. The WIPO Conversation is an open forum which provides a global setting to discuss the role of frontier technologies on IP sector. The upcoming WIPO Conversation will focus on addressing the crucial issue of protecting creativity in the digital age and strive to find a balance in this complex subject.
Large multinational organisations face greater challenges in implementing innovations into their systems. WIPO is a prime example of how an intergovernmental organization manages to successfully implement modern technologies and respond promptly to changes. During the summer programme which I mentioned in the beginning, one of the WIPO leaders shared that oftentimes, specialists have to verify actions performed by artificial intelligence to ensure their accuracy. The question remains open: will we ever be able to fully trust the quality of AI’s work?
Centre for Technology, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and the Law
(National University of Singapore)