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How will Artificial Intelligence Affect IP Jobs?

As we’ve seen in our previous article, artificial intelligence (AI) is acting as a major disrupter in the world of intellectual property (IP). The current system of IP wasn’t designed for AI and is ill-constructed for coping with its unique nature.

Yet, developers of AI technology are still acquiring patents as much as they can. They are like the rich kid in the playground hoarding their stash of trading cards. At the moment, they aren’t acting on the copying of technology, which after all can be easily copied. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that businesses can gaily walk over IP law on the basis that the likes of Google haven’t taken anyone to task, yet.

AI hits the headlines fairly regularly for its potential impact on jobs. But what about IP jobs specifically? Given how AI is challenging the very fundamentals of IP, are IP jobs affected?

Are IP Jobs Affected by AI?

There are two ways to look at this. Firstly, how AI comes in to play in IP jobs themselves on a practical level – what tasks and systems are set to change due to AI? Secondly, we need to look at the changing landscape of IP law and how new or different IP related jobs, or functions, are likely to open up in response.

With its roots pre-computers, many IP roles are administration based, at least in the background. There’s much interpretation and a focus on law, and manual searches requiring a good dose of skill and manpower.

AI could revolutionise this.

Theoretically, AI could make the role of IP considerably easier to implement on a purely practical level. Bearing in mind that the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) estimates that around 25% of all patent information is wrong (thanks to human error): AI could be a game-changer.

However, the second element – the changing landscape of AI and IP – could well create some radical shifts to the nature of IP roles, indeed creating new ones altogether. We anticipate that jobs will open up which are far more focused on the strategy of IP.

IP is often an important asset to a business. However, it can also be a barrier to entry. Strategy-based IP roles, which can rely on vastly processed data, will see new skills needed in IP lawyers and professionals alike. Much will be about insight and navigating the use of AI.

Given that the number of global patents continues to grow, there doesn’t look set to be any danger in IP jobs having their place. It’s more the nature of them changing. If the processes for managing the vast number of patents are managed by machine, then IP labour will focus more on strategy with a strong international focus all with the purpose of increasing competitive advantage.

Another area where IP jobs could well change in scope is research and business prospects. Given that AI allows for easy replication of codes, ideas, concepts and more this could become a particularly difficult field to navigate. This could be especially true if, or indeed when, the big businesses which have been stockpiling patents decide to go after the copycats. Just because they haven’t yet, doesn’t mean they won’t, especially if they fall on financially lean times. This will be a totally new area of IP law requiring specialist knowledge.

What do you think the world of AI has in terms of IP Jobs? And what current skills will be particularly important in the changing landscape?

If you are interested in joining in the conversation please get in touch with myself, Stephen Gill, via our website here.



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