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Using AI-backed systems, trademark attorneys are able to make faster, better and cheaper decisions, says Lisa Wright of TrademarkNow.
Whether it’s robots taking over the world or super computers replacing the human brain, artificial intelligence (AI) has consistently made headlines since the advent of the internet in the late 1960s.
Most of us love a good science fiction plot and the media has been happy to oblige. The movie “The Terminator” (1984) featured Arnold Schwarzenegger as a murderous cyborg sent back in time from a post-apocalyptic 2029, to alter the future and ensure the machine army’s victory over the human race.
More recently, we had another supposed snapshot into the future of AI and robotics in the movie “Ex Machina” (2014), starring Alicia Vikander as an ethereal AI humanoid. Today the rise of AI continues to enthral the masses, and the media can be quick to capitalise on primal fear and basic misconceptions.
Understanding the fundamentals of what AI is, and what it can do, enables rights owners to take full advantage of the technology, save resources, and stay ahead of the competition.
After mathematician Alan Turing helped the allied forces win World War 2 by breaking Enigma, the Nazi encryption machine, he once again reshaped history in 1950 by posing the question: “Can machines think?”
AI is a part of computer science that strives to answer his question in the affirmative. The technology and its tools mimic human decisions by reasoning through data, using experience-based knowledge models.
In the late 1950s, data started to become much more accessible to all IP professionals with the standardisation of legal forms and the digitisation of records. AI was then added to the mix, and the technology is now widely used to speed up and assist with legal research and risk analysis.
TrademarkNow’s AI technology has now reframed trademark operations when applied to clearance and management tools and is routinely used by trademark teams to great effect.
An effective trademark team
An effective trademark team is made up of smart, strategic, analytical and creative people with backgrounds in IP law and marketing. Trademark team members may have different aims, but they are all aligned to the same business goal—to deliver and protect a strong brand.
Trademark attorneys, paralegals, marketing and branding professionals who are using AI trademark search tools for early stage collaboration have seen marked improvements in their brand brainstorming and trademark clearance processes as a result.
Strategy and analytics teams are able to use the TrademarkNow platform for business intelligence and to capitalise on opportunities in trademark portfolios too—either their own or those of a competitor, using our company and brand overview dashboard summaries.
Just over one third of TrademarkNow’s corporate clients share direct use of our online platform with multidisciplinary team members to boost team efficiency and productivity. Twenty-eight percent share direct use of our platform specifically with “non-legal” marketing and creative teams who use it for brainstorming and initial screening “knockout” searches, designed to weed out weaker brand candidates early (and inexpensively) in the clearance process.
Clashes between marketing and legal departments over what is considered to be a good brand name are decreased, as is the risk of expensive, time-consuming “do-overs”—when a marketing and sales strategy is built, but the trademark is found—typically via expensive “full” or “comprehensive” searches—to be unusable for a particular territory or territories.
Legal risk clarified
TrademarkNow’s AI can also help to clarify legal risk for teams with no legal background. Creatives can instantly see if an application for an exact or semi-exact name has already been filed or registered on the platform using ExaMatch, our preliminary search tool.
NameCheck, our clearance search tool, is also used by marketers to gain insight into one central aspect of the legal “likelihood of confusion” risk attached to a trademark name candidate: that of linguistic and product similarity.
Our displays are easy for marketing to read even if they are entirely “non-legal” and reports can be customised, downloaded and shared between teams. Strong candidates are then passed on to expert attorneys (either in-house or outside counsel) who often continue to use NameCheck when running full legal risk analysis and comprehensive trademark clearance.
Using our platform ensures that the issue of legal risk no longer stifles innovation and creativity at the outset. A happy by-product of this is that marketing teams often instinctively become more creative in less risky areas, while interacting more thoroughly with their legal counterparts during the process.
As one branding agency creative director told us, “With the search reports from TrademarkNow, we can have an intelligent conversation with our corporate client’s IP people ... it’s a deeper discussion.”
Similarly, the legal teams themselves often benefit from this enhanced partnership in several ways. One of our corporate clients, Nico Zimmerman, legal counsel for Dorel Industries (a leading global consumer products company) said: “TrademarkNow significantly improved our legal team’s business partnering with our global marketing teams, allowing us to respond to their requests more quickly and with a more informed risk analysis, on a broader range of marks and jurisdictions than the cost constraints of our prior process allowed for.”
Data dissolving do-overs
Data does not lie—our AI enables marketing to get an objective view of the strength of a trademark candidate at an early stage of the trademark assembly line. This objectivity also helps to build harmony and prevent clashes between marketing and legal teams because legal is no longer seen by marketing as where “good ideas go to die”. This boosts team collaboration and leads to better teamwork in delivering client and business goals. This collaboration means that there are fewer problems for legal further down the trademark clearance assembly line.
Marketing teams can now make better educated choices about the potential brand names that they put forward to legal for comprehensive, expert, risk analysis and clearance, thus minimising the risk of do-overs and saving the business both time and money. Legal, marketing and machines working together in perfect harmony makes IP attorneys’ lives easier.
Lisa Wright is content writer at TrademarkNow. A graduate of the University of Law in London, she develops and creates thought leadership articles and other content assets on legal technology and trademark law. She can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
AI, trademarks, artificial intelligence, The Terminator, attorneys, TrademarkNow, Lisa Wright, Ex Machina, ExaMatch, clearance, NameCheck, Dorel Industries