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Development of Examination Environment for AI-related Inventions Starts

January 20, 2021

Aiming to develop an environment of more efficient and highest-quality examinations for AI-related inventions, the Japan Patent Office (JPO) inaugurated a Team for Supporting AI Examinations, an internal body in which the respective examination divisions collaborate beyond their responsible technical fields. The team will accumulate and share knowledge on the latest AI-related technologies and case examples of examination results, hold discussions on related measures for patent examinations and conduct other efforts.

1. Background

In recent years, AI-related technologies, mainly deep-learning technologies, have been developing dramatically, and, along with this, the number of patent applications for inventions involving AI-related technologies (hereinafter referred to as “AI-related inventions”) is growing in a variety of fields.

In response, the JPO has been promoting efforts for improving transparency and predictability of examinations of domestic and overseas AI-related inventions. Those efforts include  adding and publishing case examples of examination results involving AI-related technologies as well as  convening a working-level symposium based on such case examples attended by IP5 offices of Japan, the United States, the European Union, China and the Republic of Korea.

As AI-related technologies represent a fusion of technologies and examiners are required to not only ascertain the level of AI-related technologies but also accurately understand the current situations on how AI is applied in a variety of technical fields, the JPO is faced with a growing need for collaboration between the respective examination divisions beyond their responsible technical fields.

To this end, the JPO decided to develop an examination environment as below in order to achieve efficient and highest-quality examinations of AI-related inventions.

2. Development of an examination environment for AI-related inventions

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Division in Charge

Examination Standards Office, Administrative Affairs Division, Patent and Design Examination Department (Physics, Optics, Social Infrastructure and Design), Japan Patent Office