Blog

Hybrid Intelligence in the Trademark Industry: Combining AI & Human Expertise

  • Trademark Clearance
Hybrid Intelligence in the Trademark Industry: Combining AI & Human Expertise

The trade mark industry is constantly evolving as consumers engage with brands across increasingly diverse channels. However, bad actors are becoming more sophisticated, and the daily challenge of creating and protecting unique brands is becoming more difficult. How can we adapt to continue to safeguard our brands and, ultimately, consumers?

While sci-fi narratives have depicted “Hybrid Intelligence” through sinister cyborgs and dystopian societies, the reality of this concept in today’s world tells a far more nuanced and compelling story.

Rooted in advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and the enduring mastery of human intellect, the concept of hybrid intelligence and its limitless applications is front of minds for market leaders and innovators.

This blog explores the evolution of AI in the trade mark industry, examining the impact of hybrid intelligence with the goal of discovering ways we can continue to harness technology and future-proof our industry.

Introducing hybrid intelligence

Before we explore how hybrid intelligence is revolutionizing the trade mark industry, it’s crucial to define the term.

As a broad term, it refers to the combination of intelligent technology and human insight. For the trade mark industry specifically, it refers to the interplay of smart, AI-powered technology and expertise from seasoned trade mark experts.

This synergy delivers unparalleled efficiency, creativity, and insights, culminating in superior decision-making and problem-solving capabilities – all performed at a faster pace.

[…] combining the brilliance of the human mind and domain expertise with innovative technology to solve the most difficult problems.” 

Alexander Sukharevsky at McKinsey

Importantly, AI can do the arduous tasks that require less skill but more time, so that humans can use their expertise, creativity, and industry-specific knowledge to add value in a far more time-efficient fashion.

It was not so long ago that a trade mark search was a very manual task. Firstly, each trade mark office would compile all recent applications and publish this in a physical gazette, these were then requested by legal professionals to manually review and update within their own records. When a client requested a search a team of researchers then had to review each new search criteria against a vast physical database.

Digitizing this data was a huge step forwards to creating efficiencies and is a good early example in our profession of how tech has helped to save time, but the challenge of sifting through that data remained. Now, AI is helping us to find relevant results in seconds – rather than hours or days – so that we as humans can use our true expertise to add value where it matters the most, with legal opinion and strategic advice.

Now, automated trade mark searches are executed with the precision of well-trained AI models, filtering through reams of data and case law in moments that would previously have taken seasoned professionals days.

Yet, it’s the intervention of trade mark experts, with their understanding of context and legal acumen, that turns this trove of data into actionable insights, helping to secure brand value and safeguarding against a sea of potential infringements.

The current state of AI in the trade mark industry

In the current landscape, AI in the trade mark industry is a powerful but underutilized solution. Unlike sectors where AI stands as a bastion of efficiency, enriching processes with its streamlined algorithms, legal industries have had to carefully consider the potentially damaging implications of basing opinion on potentially incomplete or incorrectly presented data.

As such it comes as no surprise that, in the context of Everett Rogers’ Innovation Adoption Curve, we are currently in the “Early Adopter” adoption phase where the vision of AI has been partially embraced, yet the full-scale implementation remains a future aspiration.

Recent technological advances and future trends

That’s not to say, however, that we are all laggards and luddites repelling change at every opportunity. According to the UK’s Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) “three quarters of the largest solicitors’ firms were using AI, nearly twice the number from just three years ago”.

Recent technological strides are already influencing the trajectory of the trade mark industry. Tools such as ChatGPT are redefining client communication and legal research processes with Chatbots and letter automation. AI systems like TrademarkNow are widely used to deliver seamless results, guiding analysts through the labyrinth of trade mark data with absolute precision.

Image recognition has enhanced our ability to clear logos and industrial designs in minutes, with solutions like LogoCheck and Industrial Design Search on TrademarkNow.

These innovations fuel the industry’s growth and hint at a future where AI is not merely a supplementary tool but a core fabric of our daily operations.

The importance of human-AI collaboration

The very essence of hybrid intelligence lies in collaboration, effectively dismantling the “Human vs. AI” fallacy to establish a more conducive “Human plus AI” approach.

“[…] rather than AI replacing lawyers, we are more likely to see it turbo-charging their expertise.”

Via Financial Times: Chris Tart-Roberts, Head of Macfarlanes Lawtech Group

Traditionalists may fear obsolescence, but those who understand the strategic coupling of human intelligence with AI technologies know that the confluence of the two is the path to professional enhancement—not replacement.

The shared workload liberates human capital from mundane tasks, empowering them to engage in higher-value undertakings that hone their careers and add value for their clients.

Case studies: hybrid intelligence driving results

In one instance, a globally renowned law firm, “Phoenix Legal,” integrated ChatGPT to tackle an avalanche of client queries. Subsequently, the firm reported enhanced communication efficiency and increased the speed of problem solving.

Similarly, “CourtSide Legal,” a boutique law firm, witnessed a surge in productivity as ChatGPT expedited their legal research.

What once would have taken weeks, if not months, of manual work, could now be performed in the matter of minutes. These are not isolated cases, but signs of a growing shift within the industry.

Preparing for tomorrow’s trademark landscape

Our industry must not merely sit on the side-lines and watch as the hybrid intelligence revolution continues to grow, but actively steer its journey. The vendors and law firms that thrive in the months and years to come will not simply adopt AI—they will champion it.

Those that succeed will foster a progressive work culture that encourages collaboration and continuous learning with the aid of technology.

This entails investing in cutting-edge tools, platforms, and—most crucially—people. The bedrock of a successful hybrid intelligence approach will be the re-skilling and up-skilling of trademark analysts and researchers as the tools they use become increasingly powerful.

Ultimately, as an industry we must continue to reimagine and challenge conventional approaches to trademark tasks. The future will be driven by smarter, faster solutions, will reward forward-thinking, and will remain irrevocably human-centric.

Talk to an expert

If you haven’t yet embarked on your hybrid intelligence journey – or want to push on to the next level – talk to one of our experts who will assess your risk profile and suggest solutions to improve your trademark strategy.

Article originally published on the CITMA website