What is real
is not external form.”
We may not like it, but technology plays an increasingly dominant role in our daily lives. The onus is on us to keep abreast of technological developments and their potential implications for our personal and professional lives. Let us take the field of intellectual property and artificial intelligence as an example. If you run a business in this sector, or you wish to invest in this type of technology, you will be greatly interested in the challenge that artificial intelligence presents for intellectual property management.
To answer the question “how are artificial intelligence and intellectual property connected?”, we must turn to the European Patent Office (EPO). In the autumn of 2018, an individual filed two applications with the EPO that named an artificial intelligence system as the inventor. Both applications were roundly rejected by the EPO, who stated that they did not meet a key requirement of the European Patent Convention (EPC): the inventor designated in the patent application must be a human being, not a machine.
Both patent applications explained that the designated inventor was a system entitled “DABUS” – described as “a type of connectionist artificial intelligence”. The applicant explained that, as the owner of DABUS, he had obtained the rights to the European patent from the inventor, and should be assigned all intellectual property rights invented by the machine.
In their final decision, the EPO maintained that any inventor named in a European patent must be “a natural person”. However, the insidious spread of artificial intelligence into our lives has raised ongoing discussions about whether the EPO’s stance was correct.
Undoubtedly, we are moving towards a time where machines with artificial intelligence will become our colleagues, changing both our professional lives and our personal relationships. Artificial intelligence systems could contribute to advancements in healthcare and education and may even play a future role in culture and arts.
In light of this, we must acknowledge that the development of artificial intelligence has the potential to give companies a competitional advantage within the intellectual property field and especially for those lawyers that will easily use the new IT tools.
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