Tech tools to draft patent applications could revolutionise IP proceedings
Highly skilled patent professionals carry out the predominantly manual task of drafting a patent application, which involves the use of set phrases and a substantial amount of copying and pasting. The smallest of mistakes in the drafted application or claims can lead to serious problems further down the line. However, due to the repetitive nature of the work, errors can often be introduced accidentally. Experts therefore rely heavily on word processors and writing tools (ie, spelling and grammar checkers) to assist in drawing up high-quality applications. With increasing competition in the market, patent professionals are experiencing increasing pressure to reduce costs and must work harder to ensure that the applications contain the necessary content. The increasing need for swifter patent issuance goes hand in hand with the need for speedier, more efficient drafting.
Advantages of automated tools
The use of automated tools for mechanical drafting and proofreading steps has many advantages:
- They allow patent professionals to focus on more substantive writing and analysis and to prepare the initial draft.
- They result in highly accurate output and redirect several hours of copy, paste and other simple text work to substantively improve the application.
- The saved time can be spent fleshing out additional details of the invention and how it solves a technical problem and exploring alternative pathways.
Drafting an application
A patent application has clearly defined sections: the claim, specification, drawings, an abstract, a problem and solution and a summary. Many of these sections can be automated with minimum input requirements (eg, a single-system claim or the problem and solution sections). The rest of the patent application can be generated from the single claim using automated tools (ie, AI and natural language processing).
Below are several sections that can be automatically generated using tools:
- process flowcharts;
- flowchart descriptions;
- support for all dependent claims;
- abstracts and summaries that match the independent claim language.
Patent professionals can use automated techniques, which are equipped with tools best suited to their clients’ needs or jurisdictions. Some of the automation methods are available in granted patents, for example, US8041739B2, which discloses an automated system and method for patent drafting and technology assessment.
Some of the available automation tools for drafting patent applications include:
- ANAQUA STUDIO; and
Similar and future prospects include automation tools to:
- analyse and prepare responses for office actions;
- fill out USPTO forms, including IDS with bibliographic data downloaded from PAIR;
- generate flowcharts from method claims;
- generate patent family trees based on USPTO data;
- compute fees under multiple jurisdictions; and
- compare individual and multiple claims.
Rather than collapse under the pressure of reducing fees while improving quality, patent professionals and companies should investigate the automation options available. When equipped with the tools best suited to their clients’ needs, patent professionals can generate higher quality work and focus on building healthier relationships with clients. Further, the use of these automation tools streamlines drafting and analysis and allowing them to concentrate on more substantive work.
This is an Insight article, written by a selected partner as part of IAM's co-published content. Read more on Insight
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