Why Intellectual Property is essential when dealing with Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligent (“AI”) technology is growing at a very high pace and is spreading into many industries. As the day goes by, many technology companies are being developed and also some companies that are not really technology based now use high-tech equipment. The rate of growth in the world of Artificial Intelligent is outpacing the legal aspects of AI, and hence legal issues are very much complex and have given room for many loopholes.

This whole situation has resulted in many problems including imitation, infringement, and misappropriation. Because of these problems, companies have to be vigilant to protect their intellectual property rights in AI. You may be wondering why intellectual property is very important in AI; it is vital because if it is not protected, your innovation can be copied thereby reducing its impact and leading to financial losses for you. Furthermore, because of the complex nature of intellectual property in the case of AI, one has to be armed with the right tools.

Artificial intelligence was coined 60 years ago, and since then, the concept has intrigued many people all around the world and is the basis for many science fiction movies and books. Fast-forward 60 years later, AI is beginning to enter into almost all business sectors and into every area of the human experience. As earlier mentioned, the legal implications for AI are very complex and are constantly changing and most times, technology companies do not make it a priority. Having mentioned that, it is important that businesses create a workable strategy to protect their IP rights in AI.

Patent is a very effective form of protection for AI-related IP, however, patents are not the complete solution to the problem. This is because patents are unavailable for certain aspects of AI. For instance, patents cannot protect data compilation. Certain aspects of AI are basically related to the fact that it gives the software a competitive advantage and this may be classified as a trade secret and cannot be covered under a patent.

Apart from this, in the United States, the patent system is met with so many uncertainties as it pertains some aspects of AI, like the software. The disadvantage of the system is that if the patent is not granted, then the AI becomes public and no form of protection will be available and this is not what you want for your company. Also, patents last for only about 20 years after which it goes public. However, if you go for a copyright term, that lasts for the number of years the author lives plus 70 years. But a trade secret protection lasts forever. So if you are planning to develop an IP-protection strategy for your AI, you should not consider patent protection, rather your focus should be on copyright and trade secret protection. This is because these ones last longer and are not met with irregularities.

So why do you need IP-protection for your AI

  1. Sets you apart from your competitors: As earlier mentioned, the AI market is increasing at high speed, and this has led to so much competition. If you do not have adequate IP-protection, you will not be different from your competition. Your software, trade secrets and other aspects of your business will be open to the public, and this is very bad for business.
  2. Forms an essential part of your marketing: You can use the fact that you have IP right to market and make your AI technology look unique. If you do not have IP rights, you will not be able to say that technology is yours because it is open to the public. Hence you will not have any selling point to use for marketing.
  3. Can be used as security to obtain loans: You can use your IP rights as a security to obtain loans. So, having IP right for an AI technology makes it a tangible asset.

The importance of Intellectual property in AI cannot be overemphasized, and if you do not make this an important aspect of your business, then all the efforts you make towards innovation would be in vain. Because if it is not protected legally then it is available to the whole world and you have no legal rights over it.