As a former Silicon Valley intellectual property attorney for more than 20 years, the potential of disruptive technology has long been of special interest to me. Artificial intelligence (AI) promises to be one of the most important innovations that powers many disruptive ventures and brings exciting changes to our legal system. AI is already influencing the way we work, travel, shop, and play. From autonomous vehicles to improved medical diagnostics to voice assistants, AI is increasingly at the forefront of innovation. As a continuation of the United States Patent and Trademark Office's (USPTO) policy leadership in the field of AI, the USPTO convened a conference on Artificial Intelligence: Intellectual Property Policy Considerations on January 31 this year.
The Patent Office recently launched a page for artificial intelligence information on its website. The page provides information on the Patent Office's AI initiatives, public notices and responses, AI-related events and outside resources. The website is a part of a broader effort by the Patent Office to engage with the innovation community and experts on issues relating to AI. Director Iancu stated the following: One of the agency's top priorities is to ensure that the United States maintains its leadership in innovation, especially in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI). To that end, the USPTO has been actively engaging with the innovation community and experts in AI to determine whether further guidance is needed to promote the predictability and reliability of intellectual property rights relating to AI technology and to encourage further innovation in and around this critical area. The Patent Office has solicited comments relating to AI issues and has received nearly 200 responses from individuals, corporations, associations, academia and others.
On August 22, 2019, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published a request for comments on patenting artificial intelligence inventions. Written comments must be received on or before October 11, 2019. The AI inventorship issue came to a head earlier this year when the inventor of an algorithm named DABUS (device for the autonomous bootstrapping of unified sentience) filed beverage container and flashing light patent applications in DABUS' name in the United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States. Additionally, many today see patent eligibility as a significant hurdle to obtaining patent protection in AI technologies. China and the United States lead in patent filings in all AI techniques and functional applications, as well as AI application fields.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today released a report titled "Public Views on Artificial Intelligence and Intellectual Property Policy." The new report represents the agency's firm commitment to keeping pace with this rapidly changing and critical technology in order to accelerate American innovation. "On February 11, 2019, President Trump signed Executive Order 13859 announcing the American Artificial Intelligence Initiative, our nation's strategy on artificial intelligence," said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. "As artificial intelligence technologies continue to advance, the United States will not cede leadership in global innovation. The Department of Commerce recognizes the importance of harnessing American ingenuity to advance and protect our economic security." "The USPTO has long been committed to ensuring our nation maintains its leadership in all areas of innovation, especially in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence," said Andrei Iancu, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO.
The Northern District of California confirmed this approach by invalidating claims directed to automatically generating an "ensemble" of machine learning models under § 101 stating that it was directed towards "mathematical processes that not only could be performed by humans but also go to the general abstract concept of predictive analytics rather than any specific application."