How to Get Big Value From Big Data

By Terry Moore, Deputy Director General, Policy & Corporate Division, IP Australia

Terry Moore, Deputy Director General, Policy & Corporate Division, IP Australia

“The goal is to turn data into information, and information into insights”. As eloquently put by Carly Fiorina, the first woman ever to lead a Fortune 50 company. This has been our journey at IP Australia, putting intellectual property (IP) data to work to drive innovation, better policy and better services.

IP has never been more important to business. Global brands are worth trillions of dollars, with millions of trade marks and patents filed worldwide each year. As Mark Getty, Co-Founder of Getty Images said “look at the richest men a hundred years ago; they made all their money extracting natural resources or moving them around. All today’s richest men have made their money out of intellectual property.”

Data is key to unlocking the value of intellectual property for businesses, policy makers and for IPAustralia to meet our goal to be a world leading IP office. Data is arguably an IP office’s greatest asset. At IP Australia we have over 100 years of intellectual property data. To put this into context that is approximately 1.7 million Australian trade mark records since 1906. Not to mention our patent records that date back to1904.

So, how have we at IP Australia taken the data and turned it into insights that improve our service delivery and the innovation system more broadly? It starts with making our data available and usable; for us and for our customers, government, researchers and business more generally.

We’ve made all our IP Rights data available through the IP Government Open Data program on the Australian Government open data platform data.gov.au.

At the end of 2018 we added to this with the IP Longitudinal Research Data, which tracks IP activity and applicant/owner profiles over time, generating longitudinal data on the stocks and flows of owners’ IP rights. More recently, in April 2019 we launched the IP Data Platform - a cloud-based analytics environment. It enables data scientists and economists to interrogate and analyse data to inform policy and administrative decisions involving IP rights, trade and innovation.

We also worked with Swinburne University to develop TM-Link, an international trade mark dataset within the IP Data Platform. TM-Link is a critical part of our global collaboration. It is bringing together trademarks data from IP offices to provide a consolidated view of how trademarks are being used across global markets. We are already using data from New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom, the European Union, the United States and Australia. TM-Link can be used for research and by businesses to track the use of trade marks across different countries, helping them make more informed decisions about opportunities, strategies and use of trade marks in overseas markets.

Improving customer service and using data to innovate is a key component of our data strategy – delivering data driven services.

Our Patents Analytics Hub puts our patents data to work for applicants and researchers. The Hub provides tailored IP analytics, visualisations and interpretation of data on patenting activity trends in specific technology areas, indicators of origin of innovation and indicators of patent impact. It helps businesses and researchers make better informed decisions about how to develop and commercialise their innovations and helps policy makers understand what is happening and who is working in specific sectors and technology areas.

This work forms part of our ongoing commitment to support Australian research and innovation. It also contributes to global understanding of the use and value of patents.

We are using forefront digital technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning to build better services. In 2018 we released Trade Mark Assist to help customers through the early stages of their trade mark application process.

Trade Mark Assist uses AI machine learning to help customers learn the trade mark basics, explore their proposed trade mark and avoid common mistakes as they step through the application process. This guided experience has resulted in an 18% increase in successful trade mark applications.

We are also harnessing AI and machine learning to improve the efficiency and quality of IP office administration. AI-powered technology will create efficiencies that can lead to improved quality of decisions, where examiners can focus less on the mundane functions and more on substantive decision-making. An example is the patent auto classification service which leverages deep learning to analyse the content of a patent specification and automatically assign a classification symbol which best describe the nature of the invention. This is then used to enable other automated processes such as work allocation or provide decision support during the classification process.’

To ensure the legislation is not out of step in this new digital data-driven world, in 2017 the patents, trademarks, designs, and plant breeders’ rights legislation was amended to allow for computerised decision making as part of the administration of an IP right. Together with this legislative change we developed a rigorous governance framework that enables us to make use of AI tools.

Central to our data driven services program is the transformation of our online services, where our customers manage their patents, trade marks, designs and plant breeder’s rights. Our new customer-centred services will be based on a suite of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), including mobile applications that allow customers to better interact with IP Australia. Recent API releases include the Australian Trade Mark Search and Trade Mark Goods and Services APIs. The Australian Trade Mark Search API allows a user to search for Australian trade marks and/or their goods and services classifications via a machine to machine interface. Customers can then use this data to automate searching, build search capabilities within their own case management systems or customer facing web interfaces as just one example.

We are an agency that supports and fosters innovation, we know that in order to do that we need to be continually innovating ourselves. Digital transformation cannot happen without looking at the data and transforming how we manage it across the business. We have only taken the first steps in a long journey but if we continue to drive successful digital transformation and cultivate innovation surrounding big data the benefits to our business, our customers and the IP system more broadly will be invaluable.

Weekly Brief

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