Humans by their very nature are capable of decision-making, adaptive learning, creativeoutput, problem solving, and many other cognitive functions. By the virtue of this very fact,they create and innovate using their human intellect and the same is duly granted protectionunder the Intellectual Property Laws in the form of Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, etc.Now imagine, if a machine is capable of replicating this human behaviour and thinkcritically, make decisions, and increase productivity for humans, now that is ArtificialIntelligence ("AI") for us. The amalgamation of AI and Intellectual Property Rights ("IPR")unveils a realm of unexplored possibilities. IPR is gaining prominence in the currentknowledge-driven economy, and it encompasses AI since both are intangible results ofhuman creativity. As AI's integration deepens for ground-breaking inventions, creativeworks, and distinct brand identities, questions concerning the protection of IPR in the realmof AI gain prominence. This article explores the intricate nexus between AI and IPR, delvinginto patents, copyright, trademarks, and the legal challenges that arise in their application.
PATENTS AND AI
Patents play a vital role in safeguarding novel inventions, encouraging progress andpromoting innovation. Section 2 (p) of the Indian Patents Act, 1970 mentions the words"patentee" and "person interested" which creates a clear restriction to AI being included in itsscope. The Act explicitly restricts anyone other than a human from being recognized as apatentee. Some issues which can arise in the current framework are that AI-generated ideasmight fail to meet the legal standards for patentability, such as the requirements forenablement or non-obviousness. Determining non-obviousness often involves humanjudgment, making it challenging for an AI system to assess the novelty of an idea.In 2021, South Africa became the first country to issue a patent designating an AI Tool –DABUS – as the inventor.
COPYRIGHT AND AI
Copyright law is designed to safeguard original works of authorship. Section 2(d) of TheCopyright Act, 1957 defines the term 'author'. It states that in relation to any literary,dramatic, musical or artistic work which is computer-generated, an author is the person who
causes the work to be created. Therefore, for ownership of any copyrighted work, the personshould fall under the domain of an "author". This bars the AI from owning any authorshipbecause they are generally not regarded as a legal person. This raises significant complexitiesregarding AI's role in authorship and ownership, especially considering their ability togenerate creative and original content.Fort the first time ever, the Indian Copyright Office has recognized an AI tool – RAGHAV asthe co-author of an artwork as shown below, but later sent a withdrawal notice of the co-authorship, indicating that they mistakenly granted the registration, making it a controversialissue.
TRADEMARK AND AI
A 'trademark' is a recognizable symbol of a trade or business, primarily designed to establisha connection between branding and consumer purchasing behaviour. However, with theincreasing integration of AI in the online market, certain traditional trademark concepts maybecome less significant such as "imperfect recollection," "confusion," and the comparison oftrademarks based on their aural, conceptual, and visible impact. The reason is that AI has ledto a reduction in product choices for individual consumers, as e-commerce platforms nowutilize AI algorithms to recommend products based on customers' search behaviour,demographics, preferences, and past purchases.For example, the Indian eyewear retail chain "Lenskart" uses AI to scan a consumer's face,and generate eyewear recommendations based on the shape of their face.
INDIAN LAWS WITH RESPECT OF INCLUSION OF AI IN IPR
As seen above, the current IPR laws are crafted in a manner that restricts IPR ownership tolegal entities which includes humans or organizations consisting of humans in India. Theconvergence of AI and intellectual property necessitates a careful reassessment of existinglegal frameworks to accommodate the unique characteristics of AI. Currently, courts areinterpreting the issues surrounding AI and IP, but there is a pressing need for well-definedand structured rules and regulations in this area. Policymakers must strive to strike a balancethat fosters AI innovation while also protecting IPR. This entails designing patent laws thatencompass AI-generated innovations, redefining authorship and ownership within copyrightlaw, and ensuring trademark protection to preserve distinct brand identities.
The use of AI by artists and the general public is poised to witness significant growth due toAI systems' increasing power and autonomy. This trend blurs the distinction betweenworks created by humans and those generated by AI. Implementing IPR in the context of AI,with proper procedures and safety measures, poses a real problem. Moreover, understandingthe various features of AI becomes even more challenging, especially in developing countrieslike India, which are undergoing rapid technological changes.Successfully navigating the AI-IPR landscape requires an adaptable and forward-thinkingapproach. It is essential to find a balancing coexistence between AI and IPR to harness thefull potential of AI as a powerful tool for human creativity, promoting innovation, andenhancing our lives. By addressing these challenges effectively, society can move towards afuture where AI becomes a valuable asset in driving progress and enriching various aspects ofour existence.
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