AI Innovation at US Patent & Trademark Office, America’s Innovation Agency

Thu. May 20, 2021 @ 11:30 ET

Special Featured Guest: Jerry Ma, Director of Emerging Technology at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)


This month’s virtual presenter is Jerry Ma, Director of Emerging Technology at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)! The USPTO is unique among federal agencies in its multifaceted involvement with the AI ecosystem. Consistent with its constitutional and statutory role, the Office fosters innovation in AI by the provision of strong intellectual property (IP) grants and the promulgation of sound IP policy. The Office also looks toward AI to improve operational efficiency and empower our highly-skilled Examining Corps. Finally, the Office contributes back to the AI community as one of the leading Open Data agencies, with hundreds of terabytes of scientific and technical data made freely available to researchers and technologists.

In this presentation, Jerry will survey recent AI developments at the Office, including patent classification, prior art search, image analysis, and the use of Office data in state-of-the-art AI research. Jerry will also touch on the promising future of AI at the agency and in the IP world at large.



  • 11:30-12:30pm: Featured Presentation
  • 12:30-1:00pm: Your Q&A and interaction

About AI in Government:

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May 2021 AI in Government Cognilytica Slides.pdf
May 2021 AI in Government Speaker Slides by Jerry Ma, USPTO.pdf

Q: How does USPTO look to use AI & Intelligent automation to increase efficiencies with Contact Centers at USPTO?

[Jerry Ma] We are evaluating opportunities to deploy AI in various inventor/applicant-facing capacities at the USPTO. We view any such technology as complementing---not supplanting---our excellent live resources such as the Contact Center and Inventors Assistance Center.

Q: Are these collaborations [between USPTO and industry or USPTO and other agencies or internal USPTO activities] open to the public?

[Jerry Ma] Details about many such engagements can be found on the USPTO AI Portal.

Q: Are you exclusively using cloud for data storage, or are you evaluating on premise options?

[Jerry Ma] Today we have a mix of both on-premise and cloud storage solutions. We do not have a hard-and-fast ruleset for data tenancy---we position each dataset in the most appropriate location, taking into account cost, throughput, internal/external clients, security needs, and other factors.

Q: AI Bias and Ethics have been getting considerable attention. What is USPTO's view on dealing with AI Bias?

[Jerry Ma] We assess the trustworthiness of our models on a regular basis, including on the axis of bias. One of our best defenses against biased or untrustworthy models is early exposure to a diverse set of users---as mentioned in the presentation, we involve our examining professionals from around the Office in every single examiner-facing AI project, thereby helping ensure that we build tools that address the needs across different technical fields, different seniorities, and different examiner backgrounds.

Featured Presenters

Jerry Ma

Jerry Ma is an executive, technologist, and registered patent practitioner currently serving as Director of Emerging Technology at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Jerry

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