Development of the ALIS IP Ontology: Merging Legal and Technical Perspectives

The paper is partly based on research done for the EU-funded (IST- 2004-2.4.9) project ALIS (Automated Legal Intelligent System) on Intellectual Property Law. We describe the development process of the ALIS Intellectual Property ontology from both a legal and a technical perspective. We discuss the scope and the features of this IP ontology, the lessons learned, and the problems solved. This is done by comparing our ontology (the ALIS IP ontology) with the IPRonto ontology, which too is dedicated to IP. The paper also points out the benefits of both the ALIS system in general and the ALIS IP ontology in particular. Future development of ALIS will involve expanding its ontology to also include law and trademark law. Once these three legal ontologies are in place, they will be consolidated into a single ontology that will provide the framework for a general IP ontology.