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If you're an in-house lawyer that does patent work, or even just a patent attorney, your job might be threatened by artificial intelligence in the somewhat near future. After all, technology is the new personal touch. But, for now, it's the patent paralegals who are really at the highest risk of being displaced by a robot.
Patent attorneys would be colored shocked, if they had any emotions. Instead, they're probably all asking: Can I really replace Derrick with a robot?
Are You Ready to Replace Your Paralegal Yet?
RoboReview, made by TurboPatent Corp., is a piece of software that essentially automates the research work a patent paralegal performs, and arguably does it better (according to them, surprisingly). The subscription software service compares patent filings with filed patent applications, highlights sections that an examiner might be more critical of, as well as makes predictions on how an application will be received by the examiner.
While you may not be quite ready to replace your paralegal with some software, RoboReview and other offerings from the TurboPatent Corp. certainly can help cut costs by reducing your paralegal's research time, allowing them to do more work in less time. Reviewing research still is time consuming, and an experienced paralegal can often help with some of the review. However, theoretically then, while you might not want to get rid of your favorite human paralegal (you're safe Derrick), if you have a team, you might not need as many paralegals to do the same work.
Is Your Secretary Safe From Robots?
In addition to automating essential patent application research, two other pieces of software the company offers work in tandem to automatically generate a "shell" to a response to "office actions," then automatically generates the text of the response itself.
TurboPatent Corp. is on the bleeding edge of patent AI services and the legal services industry; therefore, it's likely to take some time for widespread adoption of their, or similar, technology. However, as the legal industry moves more toward automated services, it appears the major blow is not coming to those with the license, but rather those in the supporting roles.