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How Copyrights and Patentability are Impacted by A.I.

February 19, 2021

The proliferation of Artificial Intelligence is transforming our lives and impacting every major industry. The mainstream adoption of A.I. naturally leads to questions around copyright and patentability. This results in a plethora of interesting conversations among litigators, as U.S. law dictates that there be sufficient human involvement for something to be deemed copyrightable. We recently spoke with IP litigator, Chris Mammen, of Womble Bond Dickinson on our podcast about this very topic.

Chris explains, “If something is purely generated by the robot then it’s probably not [copyrightable]. Now, if the robot has been programmed in a certain way by someone who has exercised creativity, then it is possible that person may provide sufficient human involvement for it to be copyrightable in the name of the programmer as the artist. But, in the sense that the robot as the artist. [it is] not going to be something that can be copyrightable.” 

Legal considerations and doctrinal rulings in this area are quite exciting, as they border on philosophical debates. In our conversation with Chris, he goes into detail on a few of these discussions that are currently unfolding. He explains, “There is project going on right now called Next Rembrandt, and it is an organization that has used A.I. to train their models using Rembrandt’s corpus of work, to create another image that looks very much like the style of a Rembrandt painting but is different.” Naturally, concerns arise related to copyright and who is the actual creative force behind the artwork being created. 

Chris elaborates, Is it A.I. or is it Rembrandt himself, because all of the creative inputs that it’s been trained on were all Rembrandt’s works? And if it is Rembrandt and under our current copyright law valid for the life of the author plus 70 years, then wouldn’t that copyright have expired hundreds of years ago before the work came into existence.” These “philosophical pretzels” as Chris describes them are so important to consider, because as technology develops legal precedents will be established that lay the groundwork for future litigation and technological advancements.  

Our conversation with Chris also explored patent law in the context of A.I. “When we talk about A.I. in the patenting realm, there are three buckets that we can divide things into. One is using A.I. as a research tool, another is where A.I. is the invention, and the third is the question of whether A.I. can be an inventor.” Chris’ work in this space explores all these topics, as he is at the forefront of conversations regarding A.I. and patent litigation.  

We were honored to speak with Chris Mammen on our podcast and hope that you find our conversation enlightening and entertaining. You can take a listen to the episode and follow us on social media to keep up with the latest episodes.

For more than 25 years, Round Table Group has helped litigators locate, evaluate, and employ the best and most qualified expert witnesses. Round Table Group is a great complement to any litigator’s quest for an expert witness and our search is always free of charge. Contact us at 202-908-4500 for more information or start your expert search now.

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