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Should AI Paraphernalia Be Protected By Intellectual Property Rights?

Should AI Paraphernalia Be Protected By Intellectual Property Rights?

Abhishek Sharma
Data protect

Data protect

Legal problems concerning artificial intelligence-related models and systems are always an aspect to worry about in a long run. Law firms are of the opinion that appropriate legal measures are necessary for tech companies when it comes to managing intellectual property (IP), patents and other legal assets associated with AI. In addition, there are IP components such as copyrights for AI-based software or products that go into various other businesses, which can. All in all, if any institution or company or even a person, comes up with newer inventions in AI, they are bound to face legal or security issues one way or the other.

Looking on the other side, with technology being indispensable in our lives, issues such as security and privacy are looming over us. Since AI and related fields are making headway, it is often suggested that it should also see rigorous developments for mitigating adversaries in parallel.



In this article, we will take a look at how AI is walking on thin ice when it comes to IP assets and security problems.

Treading Carefully

According to an article by US law firm Jones Day, experts in IP related- law emphasise on how legal protection of AI systems is still an open question. In order to restrict this ‘openness’ they advise that a strong legal strategy is a must in companies to protect AI. As innovations in AI are taking place at a fast pace, they suggest that the legal strategy employed by a company should be more proactive to fight AI infringements.

There are a variety of factors that go into making a solid strategy. For instance, consider the trade secrets of a company or an organisation. If AI tech forms a part of the trade secrets,  then necessary resources and support from the company are vital to protecting it from litigation or lawsuits. That is why a full scrutiny and comprehension of the AI scenario is a must before devising a legal strategy.

IP assets such as patents are strong for AI but they do not guarantee a foolproof solution. They say, “Patents do not protect data compilations, such as AI training sets, a programmer’s particular expression of source code, or other types of proprietary information that may be competitively advantageous and constitute a trade secret.”

The article also mentions copyright protection in AI. Issues such as authorship, copyright registration, AI data copyright and copyrightable code which are evident in AI software are discussed. “Copyright protection in software extends to all of the original expression embodied in the software, but not to its functional aspects, such as algorithms, formatting, logic, or system design,” the experts say.

Copyrighting AI, Filing Patents In Indian Context

Ownership or copyrighting AI systems in India is slightly on the blurry side of legal acceptance. When viewed from the perspective of the Indian copyright law, 1957 AI has no clearly-defined terms in associating itself as work by an ‘entity’. Generally, the law accepts work created by a person or a group of persons. It cannot be applicable where there is a mere involvement by systems rather than human creativity being brought into the work. This delineation is why sometimes AI-related work or products are not fit for copyrighting.



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Secondly, when it comes to patents involving AI tech, it may even fall under the category of inventor or natural person itself, according to section 2(y) of the Indian Patents Act,1970. Again, this is ambiguous and inconclusive.

While there are other countries that have a similar imposition, they nonetheless seem to have restricted legal flexibility to AI systems.

Human Consciousness And AI

Law in AI has different meanings in different regions across the globe. Keeping legal aspects aside, another issue to introspect about is AI systems becoming close to having an equivalent human consciousness. Well-known author and mathematician Marcus du Sautoy believes that the rising phenomenon of AI machines and developments has led to a situation of extending protection to them, just like to humans. “It is getting to a point where we might be able to say this thing has a sense of itself, and maybe there is a threshold moment where suddenly this consciousness emerges. And if we understand these things are having a level of consciousness, we might well have to introduce rights. It’s an exciting time,” du Sautoy says.

If AI systems do develop a perfect consciousness, they may eventually see getting protection in the near future in a few countries. On the other hand, they are prone to criticism equally in the legal community and may face setbacks. The thin line between AI and humans will no longer matter.

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