AI & Intellectual Property
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has emerged as an important field having a significant impact on many aspects of our daily lives. As with many new technologies, AI raises significant issues in the protection and monetization of intellectual property.
What is AI?
AI has been defined in a variety of ways, but is generally understood to encompass "intelligence" demonstrated by computers, as opposed to that of humans (or animals); in other words, machine processes that mimic the cognitive or thinking functions of a brain, including such features as learning, problem solving, etc.
WIPO (the World Intellectual Property Organization) recently published for comment its Draft Draft Issues Paper on Intellectual Property Policy and Artificial Intelligence, receiving hundreds of responses to the same. The paper raised such issues as the following:
Inventorship: As inventions may be generated by an AI application, should such applications be permissibly listed as "inventors"? Should such attribution be required?
Patent eligibility: Should inventions developed partially or entirely via AI be deemed patent ineligible under 35 U.S.C. 101?
Obviousness: On questions of obviousness (or similar thresholds as Inventive Step in Europe and other jurisdictions), should the standard of one of ordinary skill in the art remain unchanged, regardless of any contribution of AI?
Copyright and Designs
Authorship: AI applications are capable of generating creative works and designs; should such works be eligible for copyright protection? If so, to whom (or what) should authorship be attributed?
Infringement: If an AI application can author a creative work, can it infringe a previously protected work?
Each of these issues and many others will need to be addressed going forward, with many of them due to be discussed on May 11, 12, 2020, in Geneva during the second session of the WIPO Conversation on Intellectual Property (IP) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). It remains to be seen whether this event will take place, as All WPO events scheduled for March and April have been canceled.