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Posts Tagged: "AI"

AI Versus Manual Patent Searching: How a Hybrid Approach Can Optimize Success

With the forecasted growth of global Artificial Intelligence (AI) market size, it is evident that AI is quickly becoming the solution to most software and service needs. AI has even infiltrated our homes—for example, we are increasingly seeing smart home systems that incorporate Internet of Things (IoT) technology along with a master AI virtual assistant. Undoubtedly, the technology has made space in the intellectual property-based service sector as well. For instance, to support patent searching, there are quite a few AI-based automated patent search tools available. Although many of these are still in their training stage, these tools are likely to mature. Thereafter, the question looming over innovators is whether to take advantage of affordable AI patent search tools or invest in outsourced manual patentability searches.

DABUS Defeated Again—But Judges Divided

The England and Wales Court of Appeal has upheld lower rulings that two patent applications designating an artificial intelligence called DABUS as the inventor were deemed to be withdrawn. (Thaler v Comptroller General of Patents Trade Marks And Designs [2021] EWCA Civ 1374.) However, the three judges were split, with the two patent specialists on the panel taking different views. Dr. Stephen Thaler filed two UK patent applications in October and November 2018 for a “Food Container” and “Devices And Methods For Attracting Enhanced Attention” respectively. Parallel applications have been filed in many other jurisdictions, as reported previously by IPWatchdog.

U.S. District Court Holds that AI Algorithms Cannot Be Listed as Inventors on Patents

On September 2, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia issued a decision granting a Motion for Summary Judgment for the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and upholding the Office’s view that AI algorithms cannot be listed as inventors on U.S. patents. The court pointed to the Administrative Procedures Act’s (APA’s) strong deference to final agency decisions, barring any egregious errors. DABUS generated outputs corresponding to (1) a fractal design for food container surfaces that may help prevent stacked containers from sticking together and (2) a technique for controlling the timing of flashing warning lights to help attract attention. Dr. Stephen Thaler (DABUS’s creator and owner) filed patent applications on these inventions that were filed around the world, listing Thaler as the applicant and listing only DABUS as the inventor.

Drafting AI Patents: Challenges and Solutions

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the latest buzzword across all sectors. Every tech and non-tech company is vigorously filing, strategizing or planning to enter the AI patent domain. However, the journey is not as easy as it may seem. While drafting AI-based patent applications, drafters often face challenges in formulating the right strategy for writing claims and identifying the correct scope of the application. Thus, it’s important to know the challenges in detail and to develop practical solutions for drafting a patent-worthy application.

Humanizing Technology: Back to Basics on DABUS and AI as Inventors

With South Africa’s patent office having recently granted the first patent to an AI inventor, and an Australian court ruling in favor of AI inventorship, it’s time to review how we got here—and where we’re going. The number of artificial intelligence (AI) patent applications received annually by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) grew from 30,000 in 2002 to more than 60,000 in 2018. Further, the USPTO has issued thousands of inventions that utilize AI. According to a 2020 study titled “AI Trends Based on the Patents Granted by the USPTO”, the total number of AI-related patents granted by the USPTO per year increased from 4,598 in 2008 to 20,639 in 2018. If AI-related patent applications and grants are on the uptick, what was the problem with DABUS?

We Have to Believe: Keeping an Open Mind on AI is Vital to the Future of Our Patent System

In response to articles on implementing AI into our patent system, and specifically to the suggestion that we should consider developing AI to replace some aspects of human decision making in the patent space, we have received a number of comments and even objections to the idea. A common objection: it is likely impossible and impractical for us to advance AI to the point where it can make reliable subjective decisions (e.g., infringement and obviousness), let alone reliably replace human decision making. At the outset, we challenge the presumption of this argument.  

How J.E.M. and Chakrabarty Make the Case for DABUS

Twenty years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled for the first time that plants could be protected with utility patents. J.E.M. Ag Supply, Inc., v. Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. 534 U.S. 124 (2001). Forty-one years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled for the first time that living organisms were patentable. Diamond v. Chakrabarty, 447 U.S. 303 (19080). Before these landmark cases, plants and living matter were not protectable with patents. The rationale of the Supreme Court in J.E.M. and Chakrabarty supports patent protection for inventions by non-humans, i.e., artificial intelligence inventors.

DABUS Gets Its First Patent in South Africa Under Formalities Examination

South Africa’s patent office has granted the first patent for an invention conceived by an artificial intelligence (AI) inventor, DABUS. The country does not have a substantive patent examination system, and thus the significance of the grant may not be as great as it would be in other jurisdictions—but the DABUS team is celebrating. The patent is for “a food container based on fractal geometry,” and was accepted by South Africa’s Companies and Intellectual Property Commission on June 24. The notice of issuance was published in the July 2021 Patent Journal.   

‘AISITAs’ and Written Description Requirements: Considerations and Guidance for AI Patent Applications

Artificial intelligence (AI) is everywhere, touching nearly every aspect of our daily lives, including how we work, communicate, shop, travel and more. The term “AI” is generally understood to encompass computerized systems that perform tasks ordinarily perceived as requiring some form of human intelligence. Many AI-based systems are able to recognize trends, patterns and connections, test hypotheses using available data sets, and continuously improve decision trees based on user input. As such, AI has been shown to have near endless applications, driving a surge of inventions and related patent application filings.

Using AI to Valuate and Determine Essentiality for SEPs

One of the major challenges when licensing, transacting, or managing Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) is that there is no public database that provides information about verified SEPs. Standard-setting organizations (SSOs) such as ETSI (4G / 5G), IEEE (Wi-Fi), or ITUT (HEVC/VVC) maintain databases of so-called self-declared patents to document the fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) obligation. However, SSOs do not determine whether any of the declared patents are essential, nor are the declarants required to provide any proof or updates. As a result, in the course of licensing negotiations, patent acquisitions, or litigation, the question about which patents are essential and which are not is one of the most debated when negotiating SEP portfolio value, royalties, or infringement claims. Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions have started to support the process of understanding how patent claims relate to standards to assess larger SEP portfolios without spending weeks and months and significant dollars on manual reviews by technical subject matter experts and counsel.

We Must Remain Open to the Future Possibilities of AI—Even if it Means Replacing Humans

In response to our recent article on artificial intelligence (AI) reducing transactional costs to help determine infringement and invalidity determinations, a commenter made an interesting counterpoint, paraphrased as the following: AI provides useful tools that should be used as an aid to human thinkers, not as a replacement to human thinking. Moreover, when it comes to AI making subjective determinations, such as obviousness or novelty, we should be skeptical of relying on AI, either legally or practically. We appreciate the counterpoint and we wanted to address it in this follow-up article.

NSCAI Final Report: United States Must Up Its IP Game to Win the AI Race

The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI) recently issued its Final Report outlining a strategy for the United States to “win” the artificial intelligence (AI) era. Critically, the Commission argues that the United States government is not currently organizing or investing to win the technology competition in AI against a committed competitor (i.e., China), nor is it prepared to defend against AI-enabled threats and rapidly adopt AI applications for national security purposes. In addition to the potential patent-eligibility and data ownership IP issues noted in the Report, other IP uncertainties unique to AI technology continue to persist, such as machine authorship and machine inventorship of valuable contributions. As part of the United States’ overall strategic interests in winning the AI era, the Commission recommends that the United States adopt IP policies to incentivize, expand, and protect AI and emerging technologies, as well as recognize IP as a national priority. But significant questions remain as to whether U.S. courts will reliably permit IP holders to proceed with AI-focused IP infringement claims against potential offenders, or if patent-eligibility, inventorship, fair use, and other defenses will tip the scales towards trade secret protection.

How to Safeguard AI Technology: Patents versus Trade Secrets

A common refrain is that an invention is only as valuable as the patent that protects it. But what happens when you cannot secure the patent? This is a frequent hurdle for inventors seeking to patent products utilizing artificial intelligence (AI). While still in its infancy, at least compared to the lofty expectations of technology enthusiasts, AI has proven integral to driving innovation, but it has also proven equally vexing to fit into the intellectual property legal regime.

Should We Require Human Inventorship? Submit Your Amicus Brief by March

Patent systems around the globe offer a quid pro quo that exchanges limited monopolies for disclosures of inventions. Most patent filings list: (1) the inventor(s); and (2) the applicant. The applicant may be an assignee (e.g., company, university, organization, etc.) with rights to seek patent protection on innovations that were identified during employment and that were within a scope of employment. Frequently, the assignee is a current or former employer of the inventor(s). In some jurisdictions (e.g., in the United States), the inventor(s) hold the rights to prosecute the patent application and assert any resulting patent unless and until the inventor(s) assign those rights to another entity (which is frequently done in employment and work?for?hire contracts). In some jurisdictions (e.g., the European Union), it is presumed that the party that applied for a patent holds the rights to the patent application. Thus, it is well-established that non-human entities may be the applicant, assignee, and/or owner of a patent. However, it is not well-established that a non-human entity may be an inventor on a patent applicant. Multiple patent offices (e.g., USPTO, UKIPO, and WIPO) have been considering what the standard in this respect should be.

Microsoft Patent Reaches Beyond Death to Pseudo-Reincarnation

Reports surfaced last week that Microsoft was granted a patent in December for a way to allow people to have conversations with loved ones after they’re deceased. The tech company a tool that could make it possible to have a virtual conversation via a chatbot with a “past or present entity … such as a friend, a relative, an acquaintance, a celebrity, a fictional character, a historical figure.” Further, the patent indicates that the chat would use imagery to “mold a personality alongside a 3D model of its real-life counterpart using letters and images.”