Nordic Journal

How have we prepared for search and analysis of converging technologies?

Technological convergence is an ever-increasing part of innovation today. Technologies that originally were unrelated are now overlapping, becoming more closely integrated and in some instances even unified. Some of the most obvious examples include the smartphone, tablet computer and Internet of Things. Lately we have seen a surge in convergence within medical devices and robotics. 

Even though the patent system has done its best to keep up with this progress, some of the more extreme convergence has brought on challenges for the current system, which has been built up around specialization, regarding classification of documentation, search tools and databases, education and training of patent examiners etc. This means that some patent offices and service providers are not well prepared to deal with applications or search tasks within certain technologies due to too much specialization and compartmentalization.   

The healthcare industry has seen some of the most advanced and complex technological convergence in the past decade, including wearables, telemedicine, nanotechnology, 3D printing, AI, augmented reality and more. 

Nordic Patent Institute uses the patent examiners of the Danish Patent and Trademark Office and the Norwegian Industrial Property Office to perform its prior art searches. Both offices have taken several steps towards preparing for increasing convergence. This includes a broad focus in recruitment, training and continuing education of examiners, cross section peer reviewing, coupled with measures to facilitate communication such as open space workplaces.  

Recently the Norwegian Industrial Property Office introduced a complete reorganization of the patent department, which among other things was focused on increasing the offices agility to cope with converging technologies. The traditional technology area sections have now been replaced with a multidisciplinary organization, consisting of teams of experts from all technological disciplines. Each team covers applications and searches within a certain general theme and cross section communication is at all times secured. This way each examiner can better familiarize himself with the work of his colleagues, making it easier to team them up in cases concerning converging technology.

If you want to discuss this important issue with one of our Key Account Managers or technical experts, or if you have a specific search request, please send us an e-mail or call +45 4350 8500. 

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