This article on ‘Patents and AI inventions: Latest court judgments and challenges‘ was written by Rosy Adhikary, an intern at Legal Upanishad.
As a distinct academic discipline, artificial intelligence research was established in 1956. For scientists, the concept of artificial intelligence is not a novel one. You might be surprised to learn how old this technology is. Ancient Greek and Egyptian mythologies contain stories about mechanical men as well. Here are a few significant turning points in AI history that illustrate its evolution from its earliest iterations to the present day. Artificial intelligence is discussed in this article, along with its current state, evaluations, and difficulties.
What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?
Despite previously only being considered a possibility in science fiction, AI is a technological process that has successfully positioned itself as a part of present world trends. Machine learning (ML) is a subset of algorithms that let computers learn from data without being explicitly written or “hard coded.” To deliver precise forecasts and clever solutions, AI makes use of the computational power that massive data from the Internet of Things (IoT) sensors provides.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has undergone much research and development to the point that it can now make judgments entirely independently of humans. Because of its autonomy, AI technology has progressed from making simple things to producing intellectual property and simplifying challenging tasks. The “WIPO Conversation on Intellectual Property (IP) and Artificial Intelligence (AI)” has recently drawn attention to the growing importance of AI throughout the realm of intellectual property.
The number of AI-related patent applications has increased in almost every field, including engineering, manufacturing, life, and medical sciences, document management, and transportation. Deep learning, machine vision, robotics, and the processing of natural language are among the fundamental AI technologies. A growing awareness of AI’s advantages has increased the number of patents in the field. The position of AI-created creations as well as the identities of their authors was one of the many problems discovered.
What are ‘Inventions’?
An invention is defined as “a new thing or procedure involving an inventive step and capable of industrial application” in Section 2(j) of The Patents Act of 1970.
The second definition of an “inventive step” according to Section 2(ja) of the Act is a feature of an invention that entails technological advance in comparison to the existing knowledge or having economic relevance or both and that makes the invention not obvious to a person knowledgeable in the art.
According to Section 2(ac) of the Act, capable of industrial application in connection to an invention refers to the innovation’s ability to be produced or utilised in a sector of the economy.
A “new invention” is defined as “any invention or technology which has not been anticipated by publication in any document or used in the United States or elsewhere in the world before the date of filing of a patent application with complete specification, i.e., the subject matter has not fallen into the public domain or that it does not form part of state of the art” by Section 2(l) of the Act.
Patents and AI inventions: Judgments
First, the 1970 Indian Patents Act’s Sections 2 and 6 were cited by the Indian Patent Office in objecting to the designation of AI as an owner in a recent application with the application number 202017019068.
A case law from India, V.B. Mohammed Ibrahim v. Alfred Schafranek, AIR 1960 Mysore 173, is cited as a precedent for inventorship. Accordingly, it was decided that neither a business acting alone in claiming to be the invention nor a funding partner could be considered an inventor. This decision emphasises the fact that, in the majority of situations, only a natural person—who is therefore neither a financial partner nor a corporation—who truly contributes their skill or technical knowledge to the conceptualization of the invention qualifies to be claimed as the inventor.
It is possible to argue that an AI qualifies for the inventor title if it additionally contributes its experience or technical skills to an invention.
We must examine other Indian case law in order to address the issue: In the case of Som Prakash Rekhi v. Union of India & Anr on November 13, 1980 (AIR 1981 SC 212), the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India made a ruling on the definition of a “person” in the context of Indian law. As a result, the court determined that a jurisdictional person is the one to whom the law attributes “personality.”
A legal person or entity that has the ability to bring a lawsuit or be sued by the other is referred to as having a “jurisdictional personality.” An AI does not, by definition, possess the capacity to exercise a wide range of rights or carry out the necessary functions of any legal personality on its own.
CS (COMM) 24/2016- Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. v. Rajesh Bansal & Others. In this instance, the question was whether the defendant had violated a patent on a DVD playing method that was deemed to be standard necessary. In this case, the court determined that the defendant’s use of EFM and the demodulation technology in their products—basically the decoding equipment without which the DVD will not function—constituted an infringement.
The defendants also fell short of demonstrating that the legitimate sources were, in fact, the plaintiff’s licensees, as they claimed, and as a result, the court ordered that the plaintiff pay a royalty to them in the amount of USD 3.175 from the filing of the lawsuit until the middle of 2010, as well as a fine of INR 5 lakhs because the defendant was a former employee of the plaintiff’s company.
The majority of issues stem from and are based on how Section 3(k) of the Patents Act of 1970, which disallows the patentability of computer programmes as a whole, is interpreted.
In its 2019 ruling in Ferid Allani v. Union of India and Ors, the Delhi High Court acknowledged that computer-based innovations like AI, blockchain, and related technologies were the future of innovation, but added that these innovations “would not change into non-patentable inventions – simply because of that. “It was decided that “technical effect” or “technical contribution” must be assessed in order to determine if CRIs are patentable, and that the mere use of a computer programme to implement an invention does not preclude its patentability.
Even though the term “technical effect” is not included in the Guidelines, the judgement asserts that “the meaning of ‘technical effect’ is no more in question due to the creation of court precedents and patent office procedures globally and in India.” The stance in the United Kingdom and the European Union is in line with the notion that an artificial intelligence (AI) concept that contributes to or has an impact on technology is still patentable.
Challenges to AI:
Since data is a key component of AI solutions, it is crucial to manage data properly and ensure its confidentiality and security.
The deployment of AI-enabled systems raises issues with regard to privacy, such as concerns about data usage without consent, the potential for person identification through data, etc. To protect personal data, India currently lacks a distinct privacy law.
In the absence of a specific law governing personal data, any disagreements between the contractual parties would be resolved in accordance with the terms and circumstances of the Contract and privacy policies.
Expertise and skill development: For a thorough and improved implementation of AI technologies, additional issues like the lack of enabling data ecosystems, the insufficient availability of AI expert knowledge, human resources, and skilling opportunities, the massive price of resources, and lack of public awareness for implementing AI in business processes must be addressed. To prepare the workforce for AI, both the public and private sectors must provide them with multidisciplinary training. Although there are concerns that AI may eliminate jobs, it may also open up new career options where humans and AI can work together to enhance human lives.
With the advent of AI-related goods and algorithms as well as the expansion of their effect on regular living, ethics and morality have grown to be significant barriers for AI solution providers. Every industry may have various ethical requirements. For instance, the healthcare and financial industries require the safety and security of sensitive information. There must be clear laws addressing ethical standards to increase cultural acceptability and trust in AI solutions.
- Current Scenario of Artificial Intelligence and patent protection in India, RNA technology and IP Attorneys , available at https://rnaip.com/current-scenario-of-artificial-intelligence-and-patent-protection-in-india/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=current-scenario-of-artificial-intelligence-and-patent-protection-in-india#:~:text=60%25%2B%20of%20patents%20filed,was%20the%20leading%20functional%20area
- Neha Arora and Dr. Joyita Deb, [The Viewpoint] A future-proof Indian Patent Office? Patenting AI inventions in India , available at https://www.barandbench.com/law-firms/view-point/a-future-proof-ipo-patenting-ai-inventions-in-india
- Dr. Kalyan c. Kankanala (July 27, 2021) AI inventions and patents, available at https://coe-dsai.nasscom.in/artificial-intelligence-ai-inventions-and-patents-in-india/
- Recent Landmark Judgments on Patent Infringements and Passing Off (October 20, 2021), Company 360.in , available at https://company360.in/blog/recent-landmark-judgments-on-patent-infringements-and-passing-off/
- Krithika Muthuraman (October 14, 2020) Artificial Intelligence Created Inventions In India – Whether Patentable?, Available at https://www.algindia.com/inventorship-artificial-intelligence-created-inventions-in-india-whether-patentable/