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February 15, 2022

Case study: How knowledge graphs help Kongsberg Automotive boost innovation

We were delighted to sit down with Kent Häll to discuss innovation workshops, knowledge graphs and the art of bridging the communication gap between lawyers and engineers.

A month or two ago we started our series of case studies and customer testimonials, with Jeremy Kriegel of Marshall IP highlighting his experiences from using IPRally for invalidity searching. Now the time has come to look at how IPRally can be used much earlier in the innovation process, namely to promote innovation in innovation workshops.

As you may know, IPRally has been built by patent professionals for patent professionals. Our CEO is a European Patent Attorney and there is a lot of subject area and industry experience in general in our company. Hence, initially, the idea behind IPRally was to build a tool that could enhance drafting and prosecution of patents, and other more legal processes, which only later turned into a patent search tool primarily for prior art searching. But even patent searching has historically been a task for patent experts, and more specifically patent search experts. We quickly noticed, though, that one of the positive “side effects” from our methods, and the graph approach in particular, is that we make patent information much more accessible for non patent experts as well. By using IPRally people less versed in the intricacies of patent language and search techniques can find, decipher and access critical information much more intuitively and quicker compared to using traditional patent research tools.

Many of our customers are now using IPRally to support and enhance processes outside of the strictly legal sphere, i.e. to boost innovation and spread awareness in general. One of those companies is the Norwegian auto parts manufacturer Kongsberg Automotive, and we were delighted to sit down with Kent Häll to discuss how IPRally helps them boost innovation.

In our conversation Kent describes, among other things, how engineers and inventors often get together in innovation workshops to work on specific challenges. The patent engineers play a crucial part in these, to inspire, collect and validate ideas. Kent describes how access to patent information is a very important part of these projects. Like many others, they were using free tools along with one of the more common commercial databases to find this information prior to implementing IPRally, but found that this was delaying their projects and adding complexity instead of promoting innovation. We hear this a lot.

Kent highlights two main areas where the traditional way of doing this was challenging:

  • There is an inherent language gap between the stakeholders in the innovation process. Engineers and lawyers simply don’t speak the same language (*and most of them don’t speak boolean either). This makes processes slow and complicated.
  • The iterative process is often delayed by complexity in capturing, describing and validating/screening the ideas. Traditional methods require a deep understanding of the technology on one hand, and the ability to translate this into search language on the other hand. This takes time and momentum is lost.

Kent describes how creative teams find solutions to challenging problems in these workshops, and that while the inventors invent the patent engineers try to capture the invention and run some searches to support and direct the inventors.  ”Many times we don’t have time to do the patent searches straight away. We have to do patent research but we have to do it after the workshop”, says Kent. This delays the process. With IPRally, one of the benefits is that no boolean searching by defining the right keywords and synonyms, classes etc is needed, and this makes the process much faster, and more immediate.

”With traditional tools you still have to use a lot of time to decode the transcripts into boolean questions and to put it into all codes and all that so you can get it right and find the right information, but IPRally did that on its own”, says Kent. ”The system actually understands natural language, it doesn’t care about the keywords”. ”With IPRally you basically just take the transcript you have done in the discussions with the inventor, you put that in to the tool and the system takes care of the rest”.

So, IPRally brings immediacy to the patent search process. It will substantially reduce the amount of time it takes to understand a topic, and then define a search based on this. What used to take hours or days is not instant.

And with regards to the other challenge, the communication gap, Kent adds about the graph format that is being used to describe technology in IPRally: “For the first time we have a common language. We can speak directly with the engineers, we can speak directly with the IP attorneys. The technology/invention is shown in such a way that both of them can realize what is connected to what and how those things fit together. And that is an interesting part and like a eureka moment”.

Hence, IPRally bridges the communication gap between engineers and lawyers, and provides a common language that is understandable to all, which reduces a lot of the disengagement, friction and misunderstanding that may otherwise happen.

By doing this, IPRally helps to save time, resources and money, and brings efficiency and effectiveness into the process, for Kongsberg and many more of our clients. We are very happy to have an impact.

Thank you to Kent and Kongsberg for taking the time to speak with us, and sharing their experiences. Let us know if you too have similar experiences from using IPRally, or if you are facing similar challenges.

Read the full case study here.

Written by

Andreas Cehlinder