Securing patents for inventions that use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning can be challenging for innovators of these ground-breaking technologies, which attempt to use the processing power of computers to replicate the intelligence and learning capabilities of humans. Without patent or other intellectual property protection, they may be unable to commercialise their inventions, which could undermine investment in this dynamic field of research and development. To clear the way for innovators, the European Patent Office has recently amended its'Guidelines for Examination' by including a new section containing advice about how patents related to AI and machine learning technologies should be assessed. The guidance clarifies that whilst algorithms are regarded as'computational' and abstract in nature, which means they are not patentable per se, once applied to a technical problem they may become eligible for patent protection. Beneficially, the approach outlined in the guidance is similar to that currently used to assess the patentability of computer-implemented inventions.
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."
Joe Biden's cancer moonshot might not be as far-fetched as you think. Because multiple U.S. agencies recently took steps to make the cancer moonshot a reality by further strengthening patent rights. Earlier this summer, the Patent and Trademark Office created an expedited review process for certain patent applications covering "immunotherapies" -- new cancer treatments that re-engineer the body's immune system to attack tumors. Within days, the National Institutes of Health rejected a petition that urged the agency to use "march-in" rights to effectively take back the patent on a prostate cancer drug: It would've had a chilling effect on the development of new drugs if such blatant government overreach was implemented. Fortunately, both moves reaffirmed researchers' faith in the patent system, giving companies the confidence to continue investing in cancer research and countless other medical innovations.
Scientists Miss Nellie A. Brown (standing), Miss Lucia McCollock, Miss Mary K. Bryan and Miss Florence Hedges (seated L-R) work at a laboratory between 1910 and 1920. For 226 years, men led the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the agency that fosters American innovation and entrepreneurship. Enter Michelle Lee, the agency's first female leader. A Silicon Valley native who built a radio with her father in the family living room, Lee grew up with female classmates who thrived in math and science. But there were fewer females in her computer science and electrical engineering classes at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology and even fewer as she went on to conduct lab research for Hewlett-Packard.
Since the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) during the 1950s, nearly 340,000 AI-related inventions have been filed for patents, a report from the UN World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has revealed. According to the WIPO Technology Trends report [PDF], IBM currently has the largest portfolio of AI patent applications, with 8,290 patented inventions. This is followed by Microsoft, who has 5,930 inventions. Toshiba, Samsung, and NEC -- who possess the third, fourth, and fifth largest portfolios -- have 5,223, 5,102, and 4,406 AI patent applications respectively. Despite IBM and Microsoft having the biggest portfolios, the Chinese state-owned SGCC has enjoyed the greatest growth from 2013 to 2016 in amount of patents filed, with a remarkable 70 percent annual average growth rate.