What Should ChatGPT’s Role in Drafting Patent Applications Be?

We Asked ChatGPT for Its Opinion

We have all heard volumes about ChatGPT in the last several months, as well as other Large Language Models (LLMs). Some of our clients have strict rules about their use, others are dipping their toes in the water. We see patent drafting tools that make promises about being able to use AI to draft an entire patent application, and we wonder if this is really the future of the industry.

Which is why as a start, Rowan is working with our clients to test out Rowan AI Chat, an interface that uses the OpenAI API to expose an AI chat interface within our patent drafting software. Our ultimate goal is to provide our clients a range of integration options around AI in order to support whatever conclusions and/or workflow they ultimately decide is right for them, ranging from no interface to AI at all, all the way to integrated search, content generation and summarization capabilities that take advantage of AI.

We thought it would be interesting to ask ChatGPT itself, about its use in drafting a patent. So we asked it, and we found the answers to be quite illustrative:

ROWAN: What factors or concerns should patent attorneys consider before using ChatGPT or OpenAI to draft patent applications?

ChatGPT: Using AI, like ChatGPT or other OpenAI tools, to draft patent applications can be a helpful resource for patent attorneys, but it comes with certain factors and concerns that should be carefully considered:

Accuracy and Reliability: AI tools are not infallible and may generate errors or inaccuracies in patent drafts. Attorneys should review AI-generated content thoroughly to ensure accuracy.

Confidentiality and Security: Protecting client information and maintaining the confidentiality of patent applications is paramount. Ensure that the AI platform complies with robust security measures to prevent data breaches or leaks.

Understanding Patent Law: AI may not fully grasp the intricacies of patent law or the nuances of a specific technology. Patent attorneys must possess a deep understanding of patent law to guide AI in generating accurate and comprehensive patent applications.

Liability: Attorneys remain responsible for the content and quality of patent applications. They should be aware of any potential liability issues associated with using AI tools, particularly in case of errors or omissions.

AI Limitations: AI tools have limitations, especially in understanding complex technical innovations or handling unconventional patent claims. Patent attorneys should be prepared to intervene and provide expert guidance when necessary.

Confidentiality Concerns: Sharing sensitive information about an invention with AI tools may raise concerns about data privacy and intellectual property protection. Depending on the platform or service used, there may be risks of data leakage.

Note: By using Rowan AI Chat, our users already get better privacy protections than if they use ChatGPT directly. OpenAI uses ChatGPT conversations to train the model behind ChatGPT, which could potentially leak proprietary information. Since Rowan AI Chat uses the OpenAI API, those conversations are not used to train the chat model so our users get better privacy protection (per OpenAI’s own stated policy). And any data sent to the OpenAI API is still subject to the security concerns of sending any data over the internet.

Rowan: What are the possible outcomes if patent attorneys use ChatGPT or OpenAI to draft patent applications?

ChatGPT: Using chatbots or AI tools like GPT-3.5, developed by OpenAI, to draft patent applications can have both advantages and disadvantages. While these tools can be helpful in generating initial drafts and aiding in the patent application process, there are potential risks and negative outcomes associated with relying solely on AI for this task:

Insufficient Patent Strategy: Crafting a patent application involves more than just describing an invention; it also requires strategic decisions on what aspects of the invention to patent and how to position the patent in the competitive landscape. AI cannot provide strategic guidance, which is a crucial aspect of patent applications.

Limited Adaptability: AI tools may not be flexible enough to handle complex or unconventional inventions that require customized language and explanations. Patent attorneys are skilled at tailoring applications to the unique characteristics of each invention.

Limited Dialogue: AI tools like GPT-3.5 are designed for one-way communication and may not be able to engage in the dynamic, interactive discussions often required during the patent drafting process.

ChatGPT: To mitigate these risks, patent attorneys who choose to use AI in drafting patent applications should do so as a supplementary tool, rather than a replacement for their expertise. They should exercise caution, review and edit AI-generated content thoroughly, and ensure that the final application aligns with legal requirements and strategic objectives. It’s also essential to stay up-to-date with the evolving landscape of AI in patent law and regulatory considerations.

Aside from asking ChatGPT, we have also talked with many of our clients about their views. Not surprisingly, they have raised many of the very same concerns. But even more importantly, they have reached many different conclusions about how AI should fit into patent practice. These discussions have informed our strategy in testing out the Rowan AI Chat functionality.

As we have said before, we don’t believe that AI will replace patent attorneys, but that patent attorneys who use sophisticated patent drafting software that carefully take advantage of AI’s assistance will replace those who don’t use such systems. And it sounds like ChatGPT agrees with us.