Q: What are some best practices for intellectual property law firms to use artificial intelligence?

A: Artificial intelligence has led to numerous breakthroughs that have disrupted the usual way we do many things and have improved our lives in several ways that we only could have imagined. From voice assistants like Siri and Alexa to self-driving cars and manufacturing robots, AI is present in our everyday lives.

One sector, however, where many have doubted that AI could make a difference is critical thinking by lawyers in the courtroom. There are many ways, though, that AI can help the legal process without replacing lawyers. A lawyer who prepares adequately has more chances of winning their case, and AI can help with research. AI eliminates the arduous task of legal analysis by searching and discovering case numbers and main arguments of cases in bulk documents.

In addition, intellectual property law has many possible AI applications.

For instance, a key component of intellectual property is due diligence. Finding critical patents in a portfolio is a cumbersome task in which automation can be handy. AI technologies mimic the behavior of expert searchers by comparing competitor and market information with existing patents. In 2016, the due diligence for the acquisition of ARM by SoftBank for $31 billion was completed in a matter of days using AI systems, as reported by Forbes.

During a patent filing, inventors must answer any questions about their inventions to understand them in detail. The questions are supposed to cover almost every detail about the invention. AI could play a considerable role by reducing the time spent asking questions the traditional way and asking more focused questions.

AI can even draft a patent application. However, it has not been perfected so extra proofreading is needed.

From the home to the workplace, the future holds many possibilities for using AI to make lives more productive.

Manjeet Rege, Ph.D., is professor and chair of the graduate programs in software and director of the Center for Applied AI at the University of St. Thomas. He's also host of the "All Things Data" podcast.