IPOPHL Touts Advancements in AI Use

Published on August 23, 2019

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) presented to peers at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Japanese stakeholders its efforts and accomplishments in incorporating Machine Learning in its business processes, a much-needed feature in response to increasing intellectual property (IP) applications filed before the office. 

At the ASEAN Intellectual Property Offices Symposium held in Japan on Aug. 07 and organized by the Japan Patent Office, IPOPHL elaborated the ways it adopts Machine Learning, more generally referred to as Artificial Intelligence (AI), with the aim of providing more efficient and quality IP services.

"In this age of the 4th Industrial Revolution, we have made our core business processes and guidelines responsive to the emerging technologies, specifically AI," DG Santiago said at the Tokyo-held Symposium. The IPOPHL chief cited Patent Search and Examination and Trademark (TM) Filing, Search and Examination as among the notable areas where the office has advanced in AI application. 

"And as the 23rd International Searching and Preliminary Examining Authority under the Patent Cooperation Treaty, we endeavor to make our patent examination guidelines responsive to global technological developments. Thus, we have adopted the Guidelines on the Examination of Information Communications Technology (ICT) and Computer-Implemented Inventions (CII)," DG Santiago said. The ICT and CII Examination Guidelines are designed to assist patent examiners in analysing claimed subject matters belonging to the ICT field as to whether they fully comply with the substantive law.

"We deemed it relevant to adopt Examination Guidelines on ICT and CII to ensure a transparent, consistent and stable patent system wherein stakeholders expect legal certainty in their applications," DG Santiago added, noting the guidelines were prepared and benchmarked with best practices from other international authorities and tailor-fitted to domestic laws.

The Office has also enhanced its organizational structure that would allow for a more active and efficient response to the rapidly changing technological landscape. 

IPOPHL created the Information Communications Technology and Biotechnology Examining Divisions to examine patent applications in the areas of information communication technology and biotechnology, including artificial intelligence. The Office also created the Office of Strategic Management which is tasked to analyse statistics and use them for policy-making, business process enhancements, and development of programs.

In addition, IPOPHL uses the Industrial Property Administration System developed by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) which incorporates AI in similarity search based on phonetic and visual similarities. Examiners also use the WIPO Global Brand Database and Madrid Goods and Services Manager which have AI functionalities for similarity search, classification and specification of goods

Future Direction of IPOPHL in AI

"As the impact of the 4th Industrial Revolution continues to pervade the global economy and industries, these present opportunities for IP Offices. For IPOPHL, we will continue upgrading our IT systems by incorporating AI functionalities to improve efficiency and quality of search and examination processes," DG Santiago said. 

"We will expand the use of AI in business processes for Patents and TM to cover examination, formality checks and quality management system. We will work on expanding AI use for our customer service to offer 24/7 support and provide real-time answers to common questions by chatbots," she added.

IPOPHL will also review its Guidelines on the Examination of ICT and CII to maintain relevance and responsiveness of its examination practices to technological developments.

The Office is also proposing amendments to the Intellectual Property Code for the 1998 law to be more responsive to emerging technological developments including AI.