Role of IP in AI and vice-versa

In the modern world, it is hard to imagine any part of our lives that is untouched by artificial intelligence (AI). For instance, there’s a very good chance you are here because you looked up AI patent on a search engine. That’s a telling example of artificial intelligence sifting through a world of data to find the perfect response to your query.

AI is making breakthroughs in every sector – be it healthcare, manufacturing or even analysis of copious amounts of data. So what exactly is AI?

AI or artificial intelligence is a branch of computer science that works on building machines that can emulate the way the human brain works. Today, it is the driving force behind many technologies that are aimed at solving complex problems.

So how do artificial intelligence and intellectual property interact with each other? Well, they have a mutally beneficial relationship with each other.

For inventors working in the space of artificial intelligence, AI patent becomes essential to protect their work from being copied or misused. At the same time, artificial intelligence, which has disrupted technologies in all spaces, can help streamline the process of patent filing, given its ability to handle big data.

To understand the relationship between artificial intelligence and intellectual property we must delve into the roles each of them play.

Intellectual property: A guardian for artificial intelligence-backed technology

presentation-about-machine-learning-technology-scientist-touchingIntellectual property rights are legislations that protect the interests of innovators and inventors. While safeguarding the rights of inventors and innovators, intellectual property laws also foster creativity and innovation. Additionally, intellectual property rights can help an inventor secure commercial benefits, as well as help society benefit from technological developments.

So it is no surprise that intellectual property laws also protect inventions that are based on artificial intelligence. However, since artificial intelligence is a highly evolving field of science, the intellectual property laws in most countries are yet to catch up with the latest trends. AI patents are yet to be recognised as legitimate patents around the world.

In India, too, algorithms and codes cannot be patented directly. And artificial intelligence is more often than not a series of computer algorithms or codes that can solve specific everyday problems or make the computer mimic human thinking.

While an AI patent is not yet common, the guidelines by the government on Computer-Related Inventions can help you get a patent for your AI-driven technology. The key here is the functionality of the invention.

However, world over, countries are recognising the importance of AI patent, giving inventors hope in the future. Given the complex nature of artificial intelligence, drafting of legislation for AI patents has become difficult. One of the most prominent issues is that of ownership of the invention. As you know, a branch of artificial intelligence, machine learning, can teach computers and systems to learn from their own experience and evolve. Many inventors have argued that in such evolved systems, it is the technology or the system that is the owner of the invention. This doesn’t fit into the policies and laws which only grant patents to natural citizens.

Artificial intelligence: A facilitator for intellectual property

As you already know, artificial intelligence technologies have an inherent ability to sift through scores of data, analyse it and even find customised results for users.

This ability is advantageous in the administration of intellectual property rights. Artificial intelligence has made it easier for inventors to search for existing patents in their areas of work. AI has also come in handy for inventors looking to apply for international patents. Many intellectual property offices are now using applications based on AI to manage patent applications.

The most prominent example of this is the Global Brand Database provided by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). This feature allows you to perform a trademark search using text or even images from across the world. The database has entries from over 2 million records from India alone. WIPO alone deploys artificial intelligence to handle various databases and search engines for inventors.

The government of India, too, has a similar search engine for trademarks which is powered by artificial intelligence. In June 2019, the government launched inPASS, a public search engine and portal for patents. You can search for granted patents by patent number, patent type and even track your application status through the same portal.

By streamlining the patent management process, artificial intelligence has made the jobs of patent officers easier. Thanks to AI intervention, the application-review-grant process of patents has also become faster.

Artificial intelligence is expected to disrupt the field of intellectual property and patent management further as more and more countries adopt applications backed by AI.

Final note: Artificial intelligence and intellectual property share a bilateral relation, where one helps the other. Where AI is emerging as a powerful tool to solve complex problems in almost all fields, IP has a bit of catching up to do. AI has irretrievably infiltrated our lives and inventions in the field are growing by the day. Therefore, it’s time for policymakers around the world to ponder over the matter of AI patent and draft legislations to protect AI-powered technologies.

So diverse are the uses of AI that IP professionals around the world are now looking to artificial intelligence to help them manage and analyse patent databases. Machine learning holds the potential of bringing insights into the IP sector that are unforeseen by human eyes. Artificial intelligence and intellectual property overlap quite often but the true benefits of this communion are yet to be achieved.


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