The number of patents for inventions based on artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning continues to grow rapidly. Some of these inventions relate to AI technology per se, and some relate to the use of AI in specific applications, including many in healthcare, financial services and blockchain, among other industries. The USPTO has addressed various aspects of intellectual property issues with these technologies in various ways, including in an event it hosted entitled "Artificial Intelligence: Intellectual Property Policy Considerations (January 2019)." Due to some of the unique issues with these technologies, the USPTO is considering whether it should make any changes to how it handles examination of these applications. As part of this analysis, the USPTO issued a request for public comments on protection and examination of these inventions. Last fall, the USPTO issued a Federal Register Notice, 84 Fed. Reg. 166 (Aug. 27, 2019) entitled, "Request for Comments on Patenting Artificial Intelligence Inventions." Soon after, the USPTO issued another Notice, 84 Fed. Reg. 210 (Oct. 30, 2019) entitled, "Request for Comments on Intellectual Property Protection for Artificial Intelligence Innovation," which expanded the scope of its inquiry (from just AI patents) to further cover copyright, trademark, and other intellectual property rights impacted by AI. In a third notice, the PTO extended the comment period until January 10, 2020.
If you are focused on developing technology that uses AI, machine learning or deep learning, now is the time to weigh in if you want to influence the discussion. We will continue to follow this issue and provide updates. If you have questions on patents or other legal issues in these areas, please contact us.
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