New emerging technologies and artificial intelligence (NET/AI)

The IP5 Offices face new challenges and opportunities when it comes to rapidly-evolving technologies, and by co-operating they can create benefits for offices and users alike.

Following a request from IP5 Industry and an agreement by the IP5 Heads of Office in 2018 to explore the impact of AI on the patent system, an IP5 expert round table on AI was held in Munich on the legal aspects of patenting of artificial intelligence (AI). In addition, a series of meetings  with users took place on these topics. 

In 2019, the five offices decided to further advance their co‑operation in the area of new emerging technologies (NET) and AI by setting up a special task force to co‑ordinate their initiatives. 

The interdisciplinary IP5 NET/AI task force, which comprises representatives from the IP5 Offices and WIPO, is exploring legal, technical and policy aspects of new technologies and AI, their impact on the patent system and on operations at the five offices. The aim is to pinpoint which areas can benefit most from joint IP5 responses and develop a comprehensive roadmap for possible endeavours. 

Following their first meeting in early 2020, task force members developed a scoping document outlining candidate co-operation areas. The IP5 Heads of Office endorsed this scoping document in July 2020. 

During their second meeting, the task force evaluated initial ideas and possible project proposals to formulate short-, medium- and long-term co-operation goals broad enough to accommodate future developments in the relevant areas. 

In particular, the task force explored the benefits of IP5 co-operation in AI-supported office operations - including automatic classification, machine translation - and the use of new technologies such as blockchain. The task force members recognised the user need for specific guidance on examination practices at the five offices. Statistics exchanges between the IP5 Offices were considered essential for identifying and monitoring emerging trends that are expected to have a major impact. 

Based on these considerations, the task force developed a comprehensive roadmap  for possible projects and future work to be undertaken by the various IP5 working groups. In June 2021, the IP5 Heads of Office endorsed the IP5 NET/AI roadmap.

First IP5 NET/AI task force meeting, 15-16 January 2020

In their first meeting, hosted by the EPO in Berlin, Germany, the task force members took stock of existing NET and AI-related projects at the various IP5 working groups and at the individual offices and discussed possible areas for IP5 co-operation. Read summary report 

Second IP5 NET/AI task force meeting, 3-5 March 2021

At their second meeting, hosted by KIPO and held via video conference, the task force discussed the main elements for a comprehensive IP5 NET/AI roadmap expected to guide the IP5 Offices’ joint endeavours in response to the challenges and opportunities arising from the increasing use of NET/AI. Read summary report

Industry engagement

Since the inception of the IP5 NET/AI task force, the IP5 Offices have underlined the need for continuous engagement with IP5 Industry to ensure that future IP5 co-operation on NET/AI meets the needs of offices and users. At its inaugural meeting in 2020, the task force agreed to use existing communication channels, such as the Global Dossier Task Force (GDTF) and Industry Consultation Group (ICG) to consult with IP5 Industry.