IPO launches consultation on use of AI to enforce intellectual property rights

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The Government has launched a consultation exploring how artificial intelligence can be used to protect intellectual property (IP) rights holders.

The ‘call for views’ forms part of the Research and Development (R&D) Roadmap, which sets out the UK’s vision and ambition for science, research and innovation.

As part of this process, the Government will examine how AI can keep the country at the “forefront of the AI and data revolution”.

Defined as “technologies with the ability to perform tasks that would otherwise require human intelligence”, this could include the ability to use smart visual perception, speech recognition, and language translation to identify products, works or services potentially in breach of IP laws.

For example, existing machine learning systems have been programmed to listen to music and identify when it has been used without permission. These types of systems are common on music and video streaming services, such as YouTube.

The paper will also look at whether AI systems can be identified as the sole or joint inventor of original works. For example, some AI machines are capable of creating music or literature. The same question has been posed about protected designs.

Commenting on the consultation, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) said: “In this call for views, we want to understand the implications AI might have for IP policy. We also need to understand the impact IP might have for AI, in the near to medium term.

“We want your ideas, expertise, and insight. This call for views sets out how we believe the IP framework relates to AI at present. It also poses a number of questions which we believe are of central importance to the future of AI and IP policy.”

Luke Morgan, a Partner with Palmers, who specialises in IP Law, said: “These proposals for the use of AI to protect IP rights is to be welcomed although it would appear that the technology is still in its early stages and a full roll out would appear, realistically, to be some way off.

“In the meantime, it is important for businesses to take the same care with protecting their IP rights as they would with other valuable commercial commodities. After all, your IP property is valuable and allowing a third party to infringe your rights, is rather like allowing them to dip into your bank account.”

Luke added: “IP infringement can be both confusing and complex so it’s worth taking advice from a specialist IP solicitor so that you are fully aware of your rights and the protection the law affords your business.”

For help and advice with all aspects of intellectual property law, please contact us.

You can find out more about the Government’s consultation here.

For help and advice on all aspects of IP law, please get in touch with our expert team.

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