Before attending law school, I worked as an interior designer in Chicago for about three years. When I started my career, I was excited to be a part of a creative industry to push the limits of design and wow the world with innovation!
As technology develops, the growing presence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) within our lives becomes more prominent. AI predicts what we want to watch on TV, what food we want to eat, and what we want to type. The predictive abilities of AI have begun to even encroach upon the creative space. The use of AI as a tool in arts and science is not new, however. Scientists have used the residual processing power from video game consoles to assist AI in processing models for the potential folded structures of proteins. What is new however is the use of AI to create a new product with little human input entirely.
This raises important questions in intellectual property (IP) (Particularly in the fields of patent and copyright law.) If an AI invents something useful or creates an expressive work, who will own the IP in that work? If the invention is patentable, who is the inventor? The AI or the creator or owner of the AI? Similarly, if an expressive work is copyrightable, who is considered the author? Answering these questions is essential in determining who will ultimately own the IP.
Thus far, the question of AI inventorship or authorship has hinged on the fact that such creations are a result of a non-human entity. To begin to understand how such creations from non-human entities are treated, we first look at how non-human authorship is treated by the courts. We will start at the beginning – before AI was considered an inventor.
When most law students think of protecting an invention or technology, they immediately jump to patents, which is a type of IP granted by the government to protect inventions. However, trade secrets are also a type of intellectual property that can protect technology. And, trade secrets can sometimes be more useful – and valuable – than patents. As we will see, companies are increasingly turning to trade secrets as a means of protecting their intellectual property. Some of the biggest IP litigation cases in recent years have involved trade secrets. Almost every company uses trade secrets to protect information. A downside to trade secrets however, is that they are sometimes difficult to protect. Continue reading