From skepticism to strategy: How AI is transforming the IP practice

Artificial intelligence (AI) is evolving rapidly with new business use cases constantly emerging. So, how do law firms and in-house counsels ensure they don’t get left behind?

Our research found that IP professionals are currently grappling with what AI could mean for them, their practice and their processes. They are keen to realize benefits but are largely skeptical about AI deployment with relatively low industry adoption.

As AI grows more pervasive and powerful, however, IP practitioners are at a critical juncture where investigating and evaluating AI is paramount. Key questions for the sector to ask include:

  • What does AI mean for IP law and practice?
  • Where is AI likely to have the most transformative impact for IP professionals?
  • How do you make AI ‘fit for purpose’ when it comes to IP processes and decision-making?
  • What does responsible and ethical AI look like?

To assist, Clarivate hosted a webinar, Is AI the dawn of a new era for IP practitioners. Our experts explored the implications of AI in IP and the importance of preparing to capitalize on this fast-developing technology.

Watch the on-webinar here: Is AI the dawn of a new era for IP practitioners?

Keep reading for insights shared by Clarivate experts, Arun Hill, Senior Consultant Intellectual Property, Peter Keyngnaert, Director, Data Science and Phil Arvanitis, Practice Director, Intellectual Property Consulting.

What do IP practitioners need to know about the AI basics?

First, AI is an umbrella term for a wide range of machine-led capabilities that perform and automate cognitive functions associated with humans. These include perception, learning, reason, pattern recognition, and interaction.

Secondly, it is possible to assess the current state of AI based on its level of sophistication. A distinction can be made between narrow, general and super-intelligence. Separately, there is automation which falls below the threshold of ‘intelligence’ in the technical sense.

AI promises to bring significant advantages to IP practices such as process efficiencies, accelerated outcomes, prediction and analysis. There is little doubt it will have significant impact on the industry.

Ultimately, the effective application of AI depends largely on how IP practitioners want to use it. Oren Etzioni, former CEO of Allen Institute for AI, and Professor of Computer Science, comments: “AI is a tool. The choice about how it gets deployed is ours.”

What does AI mean for IP law practice?

IP professionals are already looking into specific use cases where AI can have an impact on the patent and trademark lifecycle. The transformative power of AI can be used to enhance human activities with smart, fast or creative machine cognition.

For the practice of law, this could mean productivity gains, process automation and/or deeper analytical and predictive capabilities. For example:

  • Trademark and licensing
    AI could help with trademark availability and infringement monitoring, renewal prediction as well as generating enhanced alerts and reminders. In licensing, AI could assist with matching with licensees and agreement optimization.
  • Prosecution and litigation
    In prosecution, AI could enhance evidence gathering, and provide useful predictive analytics and contract analysis.
  • Drafting and ideation
    AI could be used for market trend, consumer, and existing IP data analysis. It could also be applied to automated patent drafting, with natural language processing (NLP) used to make improvements.

Watch the related webinar for more information: The Future of the IP Profession: Balancing the rise of AI with human expertise.

The state of AI in IP

To find out how IP practitioners felt about AI, if they were using it in their practices and where they saw its advantages, Clarivate surveyed 575 professionals across patents and trademarks. The global sample included attorneys, executives, R&D, and law firms.

One attorney who responded to the survey speaks for many IP practitioners in observing: “AI is not a goal in itself…the focus is, and should always be, what is my task and how can AI support me.”

  • 43% said AI is not currently used in their practice
  • 64% expect minimal change to their role due to AI
  • 49% cited the lack of AI regulation as a concern

Based on the skepticism voiced by IP professionals, it’s fair to say that caution and diligence are certainly called for, especially when integrating emerging technologies in complex and highly regulated environments.

To read the full report visit : Redefining Artificial Intelligence: How IP practice meets the coming wave.

Ensuring AI is responsible and ethical

A cautious approach is needed to address issues arising from AI, including hallucinations and bias. In response, IP law practitioners, as well as professionals in other industries, are increasingly recognizing the need for AI to adhere to responsible and ethical values if it is to be trusted.

  • Explainability and transparency
    Key issues that matter most for IP include explainability: the need for machines to show us how they produced a decision, what sources they used, and how they classified them. Secondly, IP requires transparency and informed consent, so that it’s clear where AI is being used. It will also require continuous monitoring and validation.
  • Fairness and bias mitigation
    Finally, while AI may introduce bias depending on the data sources used, it can also help to identify and reduce bias that could impact IP-related decisions. Ethical principles and norms for human-machine interaction continue to be shaped by the evolving regulatory landscape including the European Union Artificial Intelligence Act.


Signals point toward a fundamental shift in both law and practice, which will usher in a new era for IP practitioners as they are given access to superior machine intelligence. Nevertheless, human oversight and expertise will continue to be essential to maintain the integrity of the IP system and the wider profession. The need for nuanced legal interpretation and strategic input in legal practice remains clear.

Learn how Clarivate can help you select the right AI-based solution for your intellectual property needs. Contact us today.