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Access to Innovation



Honda Explains Planned AI-Using Assessment and Culling of Patent Portfolio


Honda Motor Co., Ltd.’s Bessho Hirokazu (General Manager of Corporate IP Division, IP and Standardization Supervisory Unit) presented plans to perform Honda’s regular analysis of its global patent portfolio by means of Artificial Intelligence (AI), on September 18, 2019.


Honda is a well-recognized global innovator and manufacturer of automobiles, farm equipment, motorcycles, robots, and small-sized airplanes. It sold over 30 million units in 2018, and its global intellectual property (IP) portfolio covers tens of thousands of patents as of 2019. So Honda conducts quarterly inventory analyses to find patents not worth maintaining. However, that process itself takes dozens of workers and costs a lot of money. So Bessho and others to decide to attempt analysis through AI.


Mr. Bessho plans that as the AI programs increase in aptitude, human review of every patent will become unnecessary. As a positive result, human analysts could focus on the more confusing and important patents while letting AI handle routine decisions. Of course, there is a risk involved in letting AI take charge of decision making, but over time the machinery may refine enough to serve Honda’s IP portfolio greatly. Technology affects the landscape of its own birthplace, the realm of innovation.

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Taro Yaguchi


Sugita Satoru, “知財権利を維持するか否か、その判断をAIに任せられるか?─本田技研工業の挑戦 [To maintain or not to maintain IP rights, can we trust the decision to AI? Honda Motor’s attempt]” IT Leaders, Impress Business Media, September 24, 2019, accessed September 27, 2019.








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