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Current patent laws are inadequate for Artificial Intelligence-related Intellectual Property: Report

MUMBAI: A report published by India’s largest software exporter, Tata Consultancy Services, in association with Confederation of Indian Industry, found that despite the evolution of patent laws, the increasing proliferation of artificial intelligence across the world necessitates new policies for the enforcement of intellectual property rights.

“Current patent laws treat AI software inventions as logical algorithms implemented on the computer. While patent eligibility of algorithms is valid, there is little about how to deal with inventions that are heuristic in nature,” the report found.

In artificial intelligence a ‘heuristic’ is a technique used to solve a problem faster than classic methods. Software is no longer limited to traditional rule-based systems and has increasingly turned heuristic, showing higher intelligence over rule-based systems, it cited.

The report said currently patent law state that someone, typically a natural person (in legal terms this refers to an individual human being, rather than one associated with a private or public body) who merely applies the logic to make something workable cannot be an inventor. However, it said that machines are increasingly deriving solutions to problems independently or in conjunction with a natural person, which has brought into question the definition of a ‘natural person’. This is a problem that may have to be addressed by state laws and by enterprises.

The other aspect that needed fresh debates were data-privacy and data-ownership issues, and these would have the most severe legal implications the report said. “In a global ecosystem that involves multiple players, data is accessed and moved many times across jurisdictions…Data ownership, who owns the IP rights on inventions – the data owner or the AI scientist – is also at the forefront of the debate,” it noted.

It said AI is helping develop new doctrines and mechanisms for future IP ecosystems. There are three levels at which IP management will have to be addressed, the study recommended. At the data level – in the form of access to high-quality and accurate data, at the IP system level – enabling the IP systems and tools with AI-based solutions and at the people level – empowering people to realize the benefit of AI in the IP domain.

The top five patent applicants were IBM (8,290), Microsoft (5,930), Toshiba (5,223), Samsung (5,102) and NEC (4,406). The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) possessed the largest patent portfolio explicitly dealing with deep learning (DL) with 235 patent families, it said. Baidu lead among companies owning portfolios of patents related to DL followed by Alphabet, Siemens, Xiaomi, Microsoft, Samsung, IBM and NEC, the report found.

Source: Economic Times