Artificial Intelligence and Trademark Searches in the Digital Age

The ability of the computer to take decisions by itself came to be known as artificial intelligence. Artificial Intelligence is a general term given to algorithms and software systems capable of adapting their code and actions based on both observable information and identifiable patterns in data. 

Artificial intelligence (AI) is, at its very core, a computer that has been thoughtfully programmed in such a way so as to mimic natural innate intelligence of humans by way of learning, logical reasoning or decision making. The probability of risks associated with human error can be reduced by the usage of AI. Many companies from around the world have started to market AI systems to lawyers at a cost-effective rate to undertake document review, to scan through voluminous information, to assess and interpret contracts and to perform legal research, assist in trademark clearance searches and policing. Some companies claim to use machine learning and natural language analysis to quickly determine if a mark is able to be protected. Such products also enable a party to police its mark, evaluating potential infringers, and monitor the trademarks of its competitors.

With AI technology, tasks can be performed much faster guaranteeing greater accuracy and in turn saving lawyers’ time. There are numerous tools and software services that have been introduced in the market to carry out pre-filing searches to determine the likelihood of confusion between marks with respect to similarity of marks and/or similarity of goods/services which have a robust knockout or preliminary screening process that quickly gives you clearance to advise your client to use and adopt the proposed trade mark at a much faster rate and in turn capturing semantic, structural, and textual similarities between trademarks – word, device, logos, images etc. with a larger success rate.

Currently in trade mark law, we have the common tenets of the average consumer, phonetic, aural and conceptual similarity, imperfect recollection and blurring of trade marks all of which have their roots from the 19th century when Trade Mark Law was first developed. Taking this as a first concept, the average consumer – under the current law is deemed to be reasonably well-informed, circumspect and aware, but rarely encounters the chance to initiate direct comparisons between two marks and rather relies on his average intelligence of imperfect recollection of the relevant marks. 

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