Collaborating Authors


Will Artificial Intelligence Place Trademarks On Life Support? – IP In Brief


My co-authors were Christine Strutt of Von Seidels in Cape Town, South Africa and Francine Ward of the Law Office of Francine D. Ward, Palm Desert, California. The article published by INTA in its February 9, 2022, Bulletin, explains how artificial intelligence (AI) is replacing trademark's function in brand selection. Here is a summary of the article. Traditionally, trademarks were shortcuts, identifying and distinguished goods in the marketplace in response to a buyer's needs and self-selected criteria. Trademarks have also protected against human frailty by alleviating confusion, imitation, disparagement and misrepresentation. AI is altering a consumer's browsing, selection and purchasing process.

3 ways AI can help prevent AML compliance fines in 2022 - THETARAY


2021 was another bumper year for fines slapped against financial institutions (FIs) for failures in anti-money laundering (AML) compliance. AML shortcomings in transaction monitoring are a global problem. Countries whose banks were hit with fines include the United States, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Latvia, France, the UAE, India, Malaysia, and South Africa.  Fines imposed on FIs by regulators could reach as high as $2 billion for a second year running when the final figures come in, according to estimates. The continuous vigilance of regulators should serve as a wake-up call for financial institutions worldwide to take stock in failures and take action to change the trend in 2022. Some guilty parties lacked an AML compliance culture or even engaged in outright fraud and corruption. Others turned a blind eye. For FIs investing in large and costly compliance teams and tools, it’s surely frustrating to be hit with fines of tens

The awkward grant of patents to artificial intelligence


As exciting as all this might seem, this decision seems to be more of an aberration than the rule. Before it was finally granted a patent in South Africa, the DABUS application had been rejected by patent offices in the US, Europe and the UK. The European Patent Office (EPO), justifying its decision to reject the patent application, pointed out that the law designates a natural person as the inventor of a work in order to preserve her moral right over the invention as well as to secure for her the economic rights made available by the patent. In order to be entitled to these benefits, an inventor needs to have actually "performed the creative act of invention". While artificial intelligence algorithms today are capable of perform complex computational functions that are often way beyond the capability of humans, the EPO pointed out that in all these instances, the programs are doing little more than just following the broad instructions of the humans who designed them.

Backlash grows against decision to grant patent to AI system


At first glance, a recently granted South African patent relating to a "food container based on fractal geometry" seems fairly mundane. The innovation in question involves interlocking food containers that are easy for robots to grasp and stack. On closer inspection, the patent is anything but mundane. That's because the inventor is not a human being – it is an artificial intelligence (AI) system called DABUS. DABUS (which stands for "device for the autonomous bootstrapping of unified sentience") is an AI system created by Stephen Thaler, a pioneer in the field of AI and programming.

Drones Are Helping Catch Poachers Operating Under Cover of Darkness

TIME - Tech

Catching a wildlife poacher in the act is a tricky business. Just ask the officials and groups who have spent decades and millions of dollars searching for criminal animal hunters and traders operating covertly from South Africa to China. Their work is complicated by several factors, from government corruption that foils anti-poaching efforts to extreme poverty that draws people into the industry in the first place. Poachers tend to go about their illicit business under cover of night, and it's hard to find people among millions of square miles of pitch-black forest. "Eighty percent of poaching happens under the cover of darkness."

A combination of machine learning and game theory is being used to fight elephant poaching in Uganda


Africa's wildlife is in a constant state of danger. Between 2009 and 2015, Tanzania and Mozambique lost more than half of their elephants, many of them to poaching for ivory smuggling. The decline has propelled African vulture populations, who feed on elephant carcasses, toward extinction too. And attempts at curtailing poaching and ivory smuggling haven't helped the dwindling elephant population. In South Africa, rhinos are a prized poaching target too, for their horns.

Remembering Seymour Papert: Revolutionary Socialist and Father of A.I.


The South African Jewish computer scientist and educator Seymour Papert, who died on July 31 at age 88, was a long-time fixture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He pioneered artificial intelligence and co-invented the Logo programming language. Yet his work as a social reformer, rather than with machines per se, was a primordial obsession. The human rights activist Janet Levine's memoir "Inside Apartheid" describes how during her childhood in the early 1950s, the Papert family lived not far from her Johannesburg home. Their son Seymour, a university student, was "'in trouble' with the government for his student political activities.