Global patent office efficiencies are a topic rarely discussed in the boardroom, but should they be? With the growing importance of intellectual property as part of an organization's business strategy, the efficiency of the world's patent offices can have a significant impact on your roadmap—and your bottom line. Reducing pendency on global patent filings is critical for commercial organizations that need to innovate and protect their intellectual property, as well as patent offices that are struggling with a backlog of patents resulting from increases in applications around the world.
Crisis in innovation: Increasing applications and patent complexity result in global delays in protecting innovation
Patent examination backlogs exist to some degree in nearly every global patent office. However, in countries where the economy has grown rapidly, available resources cannot keep up with patent filings and backlogs have become extensive. These backlogs threaten economic growth by discouraging innovation and investment, and also create a strategic risk for organizations investing in the impacted countries.
To confound the situation, patent complexity is also increasing, as evidenced by the number of unique concepts and chemical substances disclosed in published patents and non-patent literature being identified by CAS scientists through intensive analyses. Additionally, the interconnectivity of information across scientific domains presents an added layer of complexity.
Interconnectivity drives innovation: A CAS analysis
As we all know, innovation is driven by diverse interrelationships among ideas. The following charts show the relationships among concepts in patent documents based on patent applications across global patent offices covered in the CAS databases. Each dot is a concept or substance within a patent document. The larger dots are indicative of many documents containing the same concept. The lines between dots indicate interrelationships between the concepts and/or substances.
As we progress from 1978 through the year 2000, we see patent volumes becoming more significant. This is largely driven by patent growth in China. Today, concepts have become even more connected across the entire patent landscape, as time and patent innovation complexity have progressed.
Addressing the concern: Patent offices and global business leaders seek solutions
This is further influenced by pendency among the world's largest patent offices. According to the World Intellectual Property Organization, some offices have wait times of up to 8 years before patents may be granted. Leaders from global businesses and the world's major patent offices recently gathered at the 9th China Patent Annual Conference (CPAC), aligning around common issues resulting from these delays, including patent growth and volume challenges, impacts on innovation and economic development, and the need to tackle these issues in a collaborative fashion. A go-it-alone approach is no longer prudent.
Shen Changyu, Commissioner of the National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) of the People's Republic of China, said the quality and quantity of intellectual property creation in China has been on the rise in recent years. He hoped to strengthen cooperation with CAS in the examination field, leveraging CAS's advantages in chemical information resources to help improve the quality of Chinese patents, as well as promote IP use and commercialization.
So, how can patent offices and a scientific information solutions business combine resources to best support quality intellectual property services for innovation and discovery?
Efficiency gains in discovery necessitate an integrated approach
Today, discovery efforts are slowed by lengthy evaluation of potentially related documents within search reports. To address the pendency and backlog challenges, many are committing time and energy into developing workflow efficiencies. Current solutions range from hiring or contracting more people to optimizing internal processes and systems, as well as investing in advanced technology solutions. Although helpful, these efforts have not significantly mitigated or eliminated the growing backlog issues.
CAS developments in information discovery uniquely integrate the power of people, processes and technology, along with relevance and prioritization capabilities, to enable rapid protection of intellectual property resulting from innovation. Essential to this are:
- the expertise of scientists and technologists leveraging organized and standardized science innovation terminologies and classifications across domains, languages and time;
- data structures, models and governance that ensures accurate, in-depth and consistent high-quality classified content; and
- capabilities designed to help humans uncover insights, leveraging AI techniques such as expert systems, machine learning and deep learning.
By combining this knowledge, new art can be placed in context with all prior art encountered.
Delivering a promising new approach to scientific patent analysis
Greater efficiency gains in discovery will occur with enhancements that improve relating, organizing and analyzing new science context. Our immediate approach includes three tiers of support that leverage intelligent integration of people, processes and technology to unlock efficiency gains:
- Scoring similarity: A similarity algorithm identifies the most relevant documents for examination by weighing inputs, such as CAS curated indexing entities (scientist-selected controlled vocabulary and substance information over the corpus of 111 years of science), IPC/CPC classifications, other patent office classification systems, available PCT reports and other disclosed information, when available.
- Workflow classification: A scoring system classifies pending patent applications by likelihood of relevance to examination to help prioritize an examiner's workflow.
- Exploration and discovery: A CAS tool for examiners to explore the space surrounding the target patent, uncover relevant connections and visualize how they are relevant.
Restoring innovation and economic development
Delivering a workflow solution that will reduce the discovery and review time of relevant patent information is critical to restoring innovation and economic development. Combining human-enabled processes and technology is today's achievable approach. A searcher will be able to access relevant content based on its commonality with a patent prospect that is comprehensive and accurate.
These efficiency gains will reduce overall investment in traditional remediation strategies, while potentially improving search and examination comprehensiveness and accuracy. In the future, there will surely be advanced technology approaches that will reduce the need for traditional human-enabled processes and curation activities. But reducing delays in patent review in the near term will require combining today's best practices with emerging technologies that are more than just a promise.
Interested in exploring how your team can leverage CAS patent analysis capabilities to uncover insights, address challenges and find opportunities? Contact us today.