Posted on Tuesday 12 June 2018 by Cruickshank Intellectual Property

On May 30th the European Patent Office (EPO) held its first conference regarding Artificial Intelligence (AI) in an effort to explore the opportunities and challenges of patenting in the field of AI. With over 350 people in attendance ranging from various industries including patent law firms, patent offices and government bodies, EPO Vice President Alberto Casado stated that the main aim of the conference was to ‘raise awareness and launch an open exchange of views.’

With the continuous advancement of breakthrough technologies such as AI, 3D Printing and robotics we are now shifting from the digital age and entering what is now being termed the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). With the rise of such innovation and technological development comes the need to address the challenges the patenting process face when it comes to this ever-evolving landscape.

Recent Study shows Emerging Trends

In a study released last year by the EPO, data was taken from available patent information up to 2016 and used to examine notable innovation trends now evident which signal the beginning of the 4IR. The report found many key findings including:

  • The fastest growing area in patent applications were in the field of 3D Printing, User Interfaces and AI.
  • Europe, Japan and The USA were the main innovation centres with The People’s Republic of China and The Republic of Korea following quickly behind. Both France and Germany were found to be the main leaders in Europe.
  • In 2016 over 5,000 patent applications were filed for inventions concerning autonomous objects at the EPO.

To find out more about this report you can read it here.

The conference in Munich provided the opportunity to discuss the most appropriate way forward to better benefit and equip patent holders in the field of AI. Speaking again in his opening statement on behalf of the EPO, Mr. Casado commented “The fast evolution of artificial intelligence and 4IR-related patent applications presents specific challenges. We aim to continually improve and develop our processes and services to best fit with changing needs, and ultimately to protect IP for the benefit and economic growth of Europe and society at large.”

While this conference is the first of its kind it signals a positive approach from the EPO and demonstrates the need to provide a more suitable framework for patent holders in the field of these evolving technologies.

To keep up to date with the latest Intellectual Property news follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.