Vinzenz Frauchiger is a patent expert at Ypsomed, a Swiss company specializing in injection systems for self-medication. Ypsomed has a patent team of nine people that has built up extensive knowledge within their technical field over the years, which has allowed them to deal with patent matters autonomously. Whether it’s patent prosecution, litigation or prior art searches, they do most of their patent related work in-house.
Medical technology is a crowded IP field. More than 15 000 patent applications were filed with the European Patent Office in 2021 alone, and because of this Ypsomed’s product launches are always associated with thorough FTO investigations. Vinzenz and his colleagues in the patent team spend at least a third of their time on this, and it used to be even more. Before acquiring IPRally, they relied one of the traditional boolean solutions to navigate the patent landscape.
“The problem was that there are so many patents out there”, says Vinzenz Frauchiger. “We had to go through thousands of documents and it was just too time consuming. Then, a few years ago, more and more companies started to claim they had artificial intelligence for patent search. We started testing these tools to see if they could save us any time and if the search results were any good. But I have to say that most of them were disappointing black boxes that produced useless output. Others were too complicated to use.”
After trialing and investigating a number of AI solutions, Ypsomed decided to acquire IPRally. They are still happy with their boolean tool which they use as their primary solution, but IPRally compensates for its limitations. The effect is especially noticeable when it comes to FTO-related prior art searches, according to Vinzenz Frauchiger.
“Our prior art searches related to FTO investigations have improved drastically with IPRally. It’s safe to say that IPRally has reduced the time we spend on prior art searches by well over 50%. Usually, we get almost every important hit within the top 200 search results. A broad initial query in our boolean tool would generate about 80% noise, and that’s certainly not the case with IPRally.”
He continues: “The speed makes getting started with search projects much easier. Before we used IPRally I could spend months on searching prior art in cases where we needed a really high confidence level. Now we get the first hits and an overview of the prior art really quick, and it takes a few hours to filter the good ones out. So, we free up a lot of time. With IPRally we can focus more on the material aspects of the results and less on the actual search process. IPRally is the tool if you’re looking for the silver bullet in prior art search.”
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