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Questioning The Issue Of Intellectual Property Rights Where Artificial Intelligence Is The Author: An Overview

The concept of artificial intelligence has been an emerging issue of discussion and has gained massive momentum in the past years. As sophisticated technologies progress, it won't take long for these machines to evolve their astounding inventions without the aid of human intelligence and skills. This raises perturbing questions concerning Intellectual Property Rights. It not only questions the traditional conception of copyright and patent but also demands investigations into the realm of its regulation.

The term Artificial Intelligence was coined by John McCarthy in 1956.AI is based on "algorithms." These algorithms are a set of instructions that tell the machine how to process data. This information can be used to perform complex calculations or generate automatic reasoning, and it can even be programmed to create its algorithms.

Naturally, such an algorithm would be difficult to develop and would necessitate extensive research, but once the AI has processed this command, it is free to develop its algorithms. In this scenario, AI will have the creative freedom to design or discover new algorithms, but who will be able to claim patent rights on their work? The laws governing intellectual property are currently out of step with the current debate over whether AI may own IP.

AI has reached such heights of progress in recent years that it has the potential of such invention that can level to that of the human calibre. However, the question regarding the granting of special status to the work produced by AI still lingers.

Various countries have made tenacious endeavours to interpret their IPR laws by the requirements of Artificial Intelligence. However, keeping in mind the enormous use of Artificial Intelligence today, proper unconventional laws specific to Artificial intelligence need to be put in place. There is also an urgent need to make amendments to the TRIPS agreement.

A major accomplishment as a result of advancement in the field of Artificial Intelligence was the development of Sophia, a humanoid robot that was granted, citizenship by Saudi Arabia in 2017. Other breakthrough developments include Alphago and Zero.

Artificial intelligence enhances the already existing devices to a large extent. For instance, Siri and Google Assistant are the two most popular AI algorithms that were developed for the above-stated purpose.

WIPO has categorised AI into three dimensions. Firstly is the AI Expert System, which resolves issues in specific knowledge areas like medical problems. The second is the Perception system, which enables the AI to perceive the world from a sensational point of view. The third is the Natural Language System, which functions on a pre-existing dictionary database to learn the meaning of words. Copyright, patent and trademark need to be analysed from the perspective of Artificial intelligence.

Artificial Intelligence And Patent Laws

With the evolution and advancement of AI technology, there is an imperative need to reinterpret the patent laws and expand their jurisdiction of applicability. The WIPO about the same has formulated various treaties to enable the inclusion of AI under the ambits of the patent laws in various counties. Let's try to further understand the dilemma of enlarging the boundaries of patent laws to include AI inventions within its ambits.

For instance, the Microsoft inner eye project assists an oncologist in treating cancer within a much shorter time frame. It does this goal by analysing magnetic resonance imaging scans of patients and distinguishing malignancies from healthy tissue and bone using machine-learning techniques. The oncologist initially used to complete this task by hand-drawing outlines on 3D photographs.

Now if a patent is filed for this task down by the machine, the action is likely to fail because a very essential ingredient with regards to establishing a patent right is oblivious, I.e. the absence of a new invention or uniqueness of an idea. A patent right demands some innovation and not merely a facsimile. With the advancement of technology, it has become easier for man to get things done by using machines and AI, however, the mere replication of a task by the machine cannot be granted a patent for an elementary reason that it isn't a novel invention but an imitation of an initially manual task. Thus it becomes quite a back-breaking task to grant a patent right to an AI-generated invention.

Artificial Intelligence And Copyright

The copyright laws of the majority of the countries do not acknowledge AI-generated tasks and inventions. One of the most significant examples with regards to the same is the famous monkey selfie case where it was held that " while monkeys can take selfies, only humans can copyright". The panel was of the view that the case misses out on statutory standing because the Copyright Act did not explicitly entitle animals to file copyright infringement suits. Thus the copyright laws make it arduous for AI-generated inventions as they do not fall under the scientific understanding of the term "human being".

Considering the domestic scenario, the copyright law in India is the Indian Copyright Act, 1957. Under section 2 (d) of the act, an "author" is defined. About any work, literary, artistic, dramatic, musical etc, produced by AI or the machine, the person who enabled the production of such work holds the copyright of such invention.

This creates a problem for Artificial intelligence where inventions are solely autonomous without the interference of any human. The position in India is similar to that in the UK.

Major judgements with regards to copyright are as follows:
  1. Burrow Gilles LithographicCo. v. Sarony
  2. Bleistein v. Donaldson LithographingCo.
  3. Alfred Bell & Co. v. Catalda FineArts, Inc.

Way Forward
In the coming years, the prospects of AI technology reaching new heights is quite high. Big enterprises like Apple, Microsoft, IBM etc are likely to prey on revolutionising technology based on AI. This is likely to boom new inventions. In such a situation, there is a covet need for legal backing and safeguards.

Many opponents are of the view that AI limits the horizon of human thinking and inventions and AI-generated inventions should be discouraged. However, in a technology regulated world, it seems a very farcical idea. A more rational approach would be to sync both human and AI calibre. A collaborative form of patent protection for inventions of AI seems more plausible for a very simple reason; human intervention is essential in managing and regulating the right and obligations associated with patents.

The major issue lies in the implementation of a legal framework that would give recognition to the inventions of machines. A lot needs to be done in this direction. Firstly, there is a need to formulate a unified system of recognition for artificial intelligence. Although a lot of countries like the USA, England and New Zealand have strived in this direction, there is a requirement on the part of all the member states of major trade agreements and treaties to adopt a similar framework.

One way to achieve this is by amending the TRIPS agreement. Secondly, legislation needs to be in place in countries to regulate and monitor the inventions through AI. Thirdly, sometimes when there is a criminal liability towards an AI, the creator is often held liable for the same even though he might not be aware of such inventions on part of the AI. This would lead to the conviction of the innocent creator, which would defeat the very principles of criminal law.

Human productivity will be boosted by artificial intelligence, yet human autonomy, agency, and capabilities may be jeopardised. Computers may one day be able to match, if not exceed, human intelligence. According to analysts, people will become even more reliant on artificial intelligence in complex digital systems. From enormous chances to huge challenges, Al will remain an inextricable part of our life. It can revolutionise the way technology is seen in the current legal environment. While the nature, role, importance, and issues of Al have piqued policymakers' interest in several countries, its junction with the law is still in its early stages.


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