The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently released a report titled “Public Views on Artificial Intelligence and Intellectual Property Policy,” which addresses the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on various intellectual property (IP) regimes. Per the USPTO’s press release announcing the report, the report “represents the agency’s firm commitment to keeping pace with this rapidly changing and critical technology.”
The report is the outcome of two formal Requests for Comments (RFCs) in which the USPTO solicited public input from various stakeholders on (1) patenting AI inventions, including AI’s impact on inventorship and ownership, eligibility disclosure, and the level of ordinary skill in the art; and (2) the impact of AI on other IP policy areas, including copyrights, trademarks, database protections, and trade secret law. The USPTO received approximately 200 unique comments from a broad range of experts in foreign patent offices, bar associations, trade associations, academia, law firms, and companies in the electronics, software, automobile, medical, and pharmaceutical industries. The report is divided into two parts corresponding to each of the RFC topics.
According to the report, a majority of commenters believe the existing US IP laws are well equipped to handle the emerging issues raised by AI, although commenters were split as to whether any new classes of IP rights would be beneficial to ensure a more robust IP system. Commenters also generally agreed that one concern with future IP policymaking in relation to AI is the fact that AI has no universally recognized definition, and that it is important for the USPTO to remain apprised of legal and scientific developments in AI to ensure the IP legal regime keeps pace with the state of the technology.
The Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO, as well as co-chair of the USPTO’s AI working groups, was quoted in the release as follows: “New AI technologies demand careful consideration in light of current intellectual property laws. It is essential that the United States be at the forefront of strong IP protection for AI technologies to incentivize and accelerate innovation in the U.S.”
The USPTO will use the report to focus issues for continued exploration of other measures it may take to bolster the understanding and reliability of IP rights for emerging technologies, such as AI; steps that may include further engagement with the public, additional guidance for stakeholders, and continued training for examiners on emerging technologies. The USPTO also indicated that it is working to ensure that appropriate IP incentives are in place to encourage further innovation in and around this critical area.
Check out the full report.