The World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) held its third "Conversation on Intellectual Property and Artificial Intelligence" on November 4, 2020, to discuss its revised issues paper on Intellectual Property Policy and Artificial Intelligence. Public bodies in the United States, United Kingdom, and European Union have each recently published reports on the interrelationship of AI on IP policy. In October 2020, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published a report, Public Views on Artificial Intelligence and Intellectual Property Policy, on two formal requests for comments, and the European Parliament published a report on intellectual property rights for the development of AI technologies. In September 2020, the UK's Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) published a call for views on the policy considerations and future relationship between AI and IP. Courts in each jurisdiction have so far rejected the suggestion that AI has its own legal personality.
Technology keeps creating challenges for intellectual property law. The infamous case of the "monkey selfie" challenged the notion of not just who owns a piece of intellectual property, but what constitutes a "who" in the first place. Last decade's semi-sentient monkey is giving way to a new "who": artificial intelligence. The rapid rise of AI has forced the legal field to ask difficult questions about whether an AI can hold a patent at all, how existing IP and patent laws can address the unique challenges that AI presents, and what challenges remain. The answers to these questions are not trivial; stakeholders have poured billions upon billions of dollars into researching and developing AI technologies and AI-powered products and services across academia, government, and industry.
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.
US prosecutors are seeking a total of 27 months behind bars for Anthony Levandowski, the former head of Uber's self-driving arm who pleaded guilty to stealing trade secrets from Google. Levandowski was indicted by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) on 33 counts of theft and attempted theft in 2019 for stealing intellectual property belonging to his former employer. The ex-Google engineer worked on the tech giant's self-driving technologies from 2009 to 2016 before abruptly resigning to found his own company. Prosecutors claimed that before he left his post, Levandowski downloaded a treasure trove of 14,000 internal documents relating to engineering, manufacturing, and business, specifically linked to Google's LiDAR and self-driving car research. See also: Uber's future may be more about Uber Eats, Uber Freight than ride sharing Otto, a rival in the same space, was co-founded by the engineer together with Lior Ron.
In this special guest feature, Joseph E. Mutschelknaus, a director in Sterne Kessler's Electronics Practice Group, addresses some of the top data privacy compliance issues that startups dealing with AI and ML applications face. He also assists with district court litigation and licensing issues. Based in Washington, D.C. and renown for more than four decades for dedication to the protection, transfer, and enforcement of intellectual property rights, Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox is one of the most highly regarded intellectual property specialty law firms in the world. Last year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) hit both Facebook and Google with record fines relating to their handling of personal data. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which is widely viewed the toughest privacy law in the U.S., came online this year.
Since the mid-1960s, intellectual property (IP) law specialists have debated whether computers or computer programs can be "authors" whose outputs can be copyrighted.6 The U.S. Congress was so befuddled about this issue in the mid-1970s that it created a special Commission on New Technological Uses of Copyrighted Works (CONTU) to address this and a few other computer-related issues.4 A second burst of interest in AI authorship broke out in the mid-1980s. Congress once again commissioned a study, this time from its Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), to address this and other controversial computer-related issues. OTA did not offer an answer to the question, perhaps in part because at that time, it was a "toy problem" because no commercially significant outputs of AI or other software programs had yet been generated.5
Turns out that AI is not able to be a patent holder, plus other thorny topics. Can AI be an inventor? According to a recent decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the answer seems to be no. There is more to this story, though, and we'll need to push past the surface to understand the full nuances involved. Perhaps a more apt way to depict the situation is whether AI can be formally granted a U.S. patent, and for that the answer appears to unequivocally and emphatically be a razor-sharp no.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office officially selected a new partner to support its increasing adoption of artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities.General Dynamics Information Technology on Monday announced it was awarded a contract worth up to $50 million through its Intelligent Automation and Innovation Support Services blanket purchase agreement. GDIT is the latest of more than a dozen companies the agency tapped under the future-facing BPA. Other businesses who've made their own recent announcements detailing partnerships via the agreement include Octo and Steampunk.In the announcement, Vice President & General Manager Christopher Hegedus for GDIT's Diplomacy, Commerce and Government Operations business area noted the company's supported the agency for nearly two decades, and through this "new work, [aims to bring its] AI, ML and robotic process automation expertise to help USPTO develop solutions that accelerate the patent and trademark process to benefit American innovators." Charged with issuing patents for inventions and registering trademarks for product and intellectual property identification, USPTO is making deliberate moves to "propel" itself into the next decade technologically, the agency's chief information officer recently told Nextgov. And it appears the BPA is one avenue helping it to do exactly that.
This book discusses the necessity and perhaps urgency for the regulation of algorithms on which new technologies rely; technologies that have the potential to re-shape human societies. From commerce and farming to medical care and education, it is difficult to find any aspect of our lives that will not be affected by these emerging technologies. At the same time, artificial intelligence, deep learning, machine learning, cognitive computing, blockchain, virtual reality and augmented reality, belong to the fields most likely to affect law and, in particular, administrative law. The book examines universally applicable patterns in administrative decisions and judicial rulings. First, similarities and divergence in behavior among the different cases are identified by analyzing parameters ranging from geographical location and administrative decisions to judicial reasoning and legal basis. As it turns out, in several of the cases presented, sources of general law, such as competition or labor law, are invoked as a legal basis, due to the lack of current specialized legislation. This book also investigates the role and significance of national and indeed supranational regulatory bodies for advanced algorithms and considers ENISA, an EU agency that focuses on network and information security, as an interesting candidate for a European regulator of advanced algorithms. Lastly, it discusses the involvement of representative institutions in algorithmic regulation.