INL launches International Think Tank on using cutting edge Artificial Intelligence to accelerate today’s invention and innovation

October 21, 2019


The number of patents submissions and the volume of documents related to Intellectual Property (IP) and innovation has never been so high globally, to the point that it became humanly impossible to review them all in a timely and purposeful manner.

To cope with this challenge, INL – International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory joined efforts with WIPO – World Intellectual Property Organization, IMD – International Institute for Management Development, and the Swiss startup Iprova just launched an initiative to apply Artificial Intelligence (AI) to the invention and innovation process.

This international Think Tank – AI4IP – will address the need to change the way this process is developed, by analyzing the impressive amount of data generated every day regarding new discoveries and technologic breakthroughs.

Why INL?

The global center for patents is the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), based in Geneva, Switzerland with 1,200 experts in patents and trademarks. They are a pioneer in using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help better use the data associated with the 340,000 patents and other Intellectual Property (IP) at WIPO under the direction of Yo Takagi, Assistant to the WIPO Director-General.

There was a clear request from WIPO that INL´s unique Intergovernmental position and experience could accelerate the use of AI in the creation, prosecution and value generation of intellectual property in the Iberian Peninsula.

INL initiated an AI4IP roadshow visiting the leading AI and IP entities in Portugal and Spain. There was very positive feedback to bring these diverse groups together to exchange perspectives and learn about the latest developments. The first AI4IP Think Tank was hosted at INL, Braga, Portugal on the 14th of October.

Creating inventions and accelerating their impact in society are key concerns of INL. In 2018 INL was one of the leading producers of patent applications in Portugal.

The think tank presentation from Bill Fischer, Director of Innovation from IMD Business School, Switzerland showed that the rate of growth of technology knowledge and IP is now faster than humans can assimilate it. AI is the only way to handle and usefully exploit so much data for Innovation and the benefits for society´s current issues. This need for AI was reinforced by Yo Takagi and WIPO’s groundbreaking developments in AI-driven technical document translations, trademark recognition software etc.

Another innovator in the use of AI in the IP area is Julian Nolan founder/CEO of the startup “Iprova” also in Switzerland, who today has all 10 Global Tech. companies as customers (Apple, Google, Sony, IBM, among others). Iprova recently signed an MoU with INL to explore bringing this unique technology to Braga.

Looking to the future, it was agreed that computing power will become a limiting factor to progress and Lars Montelius, Director-General of INL explained INL’s strategic investment in this area, with its creation of a Quantum Computing Group, hiring of 12 PhD students and establishment as Portugal’s only Quantum Hub to IBM’s Quantum computer in New York.

In recent months INL experts, Ulf Hakanson, Head of IP and Gary Heath, Director of Innovation have strengthened the existing excellent Swiss innovation ties by organizing the first visit to Switzerland of Ricardo Rio, Mayor of Braga, to have a deeper involvement in these initiatives.