On 13 December, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) issued a draft paper on IP policy in relation to Artificial Intelligence (AI). This draft paper is part of a public consultation process to help define IP policy around the ever-expanding field of AI. A copy of the draft paper can be accessed here.
As part of this process, WIPO is seeking feedback from stakeholders on what are the main issues to be considered in relation to IP policy around the use of AI and development of AI innovations.
Some of the current IP issues identified by WIPO to date and discussed in the draft paper include:
- Inventorship and ownership of patents and designs where AI tools have had significant input on the generation of the technology. This issue likely stems from the recent instance of computer systems being named as inventors on patent applications.
- Patentable subject matter for AI inventions and the guidelines that should be adopted for assessing this.
- Standards of inventive step in relation to AI inventions, such as what constitutes prior art and who is the relevant person skilled in the art.
- The level of disclosure required to obtain a valid patent around AI where the algorithm may change over time.
- Patent incentives for AI generated inventions.
- Authorisation of use of copyright protected data for training an AI system and how this use might be detected.
- The use of Deep Fakes and whether these should be outlawed or embraced in an authorised manner.
- Whether new types of IP rights should be considered to protect the vast quantities of data generated by modern computer systems and devices.
- Whether IP policy can be used to contain a widening technology gap in AI capacity across different countries.
Comments on the IP issues that WIPO should consider are due by 14 February 2020 via the WIPO Secretariat email@example.com. Following this, a revised paper will be published for further consideration by WIPO and the general public.
If nothing else, this draft paper signifies that WIPO is recognising the increasing impacts and importance of AI on our world, particularly around the stimulation and facilitation of innovation – a primary role of the IP system. This is a good opportunity for stakeholders to have their say on how IP policy around AI will be shaped in the future.
The team at POF are keeping a close eye on the developments in IP policy and will report further once the revised paper has issued.
You may also be interested in WIPO’s recent WIPO publication entitled “WIPO Technology Trends 2019: Artificial Intelligence” available here. This publication discusses trends in AI innovation, possible future growth markets and consideration of IP policy to facilitate innovation in AI.
 On 25 November 2019 the European Patent Office (EPO) refused two patent applications on the grounds that they do not meet the requirement of the EPC that the inventor is a human being, not a machine. A reasoned decision is expected from the EPO this month.