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The USPTO issued a Report in October 2020 titled Inventing AI: Tracing the diffusion of artificial intelligence with U.S. patents, along with supplementary material that describes the methodology and scope of patent related data used in the Report. Following a first report also issued in October 2020 that pertains to AI and IP

On October 6, 2020, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published a report titled Public Views on Artificial Intelligence and Intellectual Property Policy. The report summarizes the nearly 200 comments received in response to patent-related questions regarding AI set forth in a request for comments (RFC) issued by the USPTO in August 2019 and non-patent IP questions set forth in an October 2019 RFC.

This post focuses on Part I of the report, which summarizes the comments received in response to the first RFC. Part II of the report pertains to the second RFC.


Continue Reading Covington Artificial Intelligence Update: USPTO Releases Report on Artificial Intelligence and Intellectual Property Policy

Artificial intelligence (“AI”) is expanding in many industries and could add approximately $13 trillion to the global economy by 2030.  Many organizations, both public and private, have invested substantial resources in AI research and development (R&D).  The United States, the European Union, Canada, China and many other countries have developed, or are developing, a

The World Intellectual Property Organization (“WIPO”) recently announced a public consultation process on Artificial Intelligence and Intellectual Property Policy. As part of the consultation process, WIPO concurrently published and has requested feedback on a wide-ranging draft IP Policy and AI Issues Paper that is intended to help define the most pressing AI-related questions likely to face IP policy makers in the areas of patents, copyright, and data.

The Issues Paper follows other recent WIPO activity pertaining to AI-related IP issues. In January 2019 WIPO issued a publication that surveyed the landscape of AI innovation since the field first developed in the 1950s, and in September 2019 WIPO held a Conversation on IP and AI.

Recognizing the significance and potential implications of the intersection of AI and intellectual property, two of the leading patent offices have now requested public comment. As discussed in a previous blog, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a “Request for Comments on Patenting Artificial Intelligence Inventions” on August 27, 2019. The USPTO subsequently issued a “Request for Comments on Intellectual Property Protection for Artificial Intelligence Innovation” on October 30, 2019, in which it seeks comments on the copyright, trademark, and other intellectual property rights issues that may be impacted by AI.
Continue Reading AI Update: WIPO Begins Public Consultation Process on Artificial Intelligence and Intellectual Property Policy

On August 27, 2019, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) published a Request for Comments on Patenting Artificial Intelligence Inventions in the Federal Register. The Request follows Director Iancu’s statement that America’s national security and economic prosperity depend on the United States’ ability to maintain a leadership role in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other emerging technologies, as explained in another post on an artificial intelligence conference held by the USPTO earlier this year.

Recent Rapid Advances in AI Technologies

The recent confluence of big data, increasingly faster and more specialized hardware, improved algorithms, and increased investment has led to rapid advancement in AI technologies and applications such as computer vision, natural language processing, medical diagnostics, robotics, autonomous vehicles, and drug development, among others. And while the Request does not define the term “artificial intelligence,” the USPTO does provide a class definition for the examination of AI inventions and patent applications, and Class 706 identifies several technologies encompassed by AI technology.


Continue Reading AI Update: USPTO Publishes Request for Comments on Patenting Artificial Intelligence Inventions

IoT Update: Federal Lawmakers Focus on Smart Cities

Since the beginning of the year, lawmakers in this Congress have introduced a number of  proposals to study, cultivate, and guide the growth of smart cities.  This blog post summarizes seven smart cities bills introduced in this Congress.  Some bills focus broadly on Federal efforts to prioritize smart cities, whereas others focus on specific topics, like transportation and smart utilities.

Interestingly, most smart cities legislation introduced this year includes a grant program, which could reflect Congressional interest in demonstrating best practices capable of being replicated, as well as interest in providing financial support to accelerate smart cities growth.  The size of these grant programs typically hovers around $20-50M, though some bills leave the funding amount to the grant administrator.


Continue Reading IoT Update: Federal Lawmakers Focus on Smart Cities

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) held its Artificial Intelligence: Intellectual Property Policy Considerations conference on January 31, 2019. The conference featured six panels of speakers, including policy makers, academics, and practitioners from Canada, China, Europe, Japan, and the United States. As stated by USPTO Director Iancu during his introductory remarks, the purpose of the conference is to begin discussions about the implications that artificial intelligence (“AI”) may have on intellectual property law and policy. In this post, we provide an overview of Director Iancu’s Introductory Remarks and of three of the conference panels that addressed several current and forward-looking issues that will impact patent law and society at large.

Opening Remarks by Director Iancu

The Director noted that governments around the world are adopting long-term comprehensive strategies to promote and provide leadership for technological advances of the future, and that America’s national security and economic prosperity depend on the United States’ ability to maintain a leadership role in AI and other emerging technologies.

The USPTO is using AI technology to increase the efficiency of patent examination. For example, the USPTO has developed and is exploring a new cognitive assistant called Unity which is intended to allow patent examiners to search across patents, publications, non-patent literature, and images with a single click. The Director concluded by stating that one of his top priorities is ensuring that the U.S. continues its leadership when it comes to innovation, particularly in the emerging technologies such as AI and machine learning.
Continue Reading Artificial Intelligence and the Patent Landscape – Views from the USPTO AI Intellectual Property Policy Considerations Conference

Innovative leaders worldwide are investing in technologies to transform their cities into smart cities—environments in which data collection and analysis is utilized to manage assets and resources efficiently.  Smart city technologies can improve safety, manage traffic and transportation systems, and save energy, as we discussed in a previous post.  One important aspect of a successful smart city will be ensuring infrastructure is in place to support new technologies.  Federal investment in infrastructure may accordingly benefit both smart cities and smart transportation, as explained in another post on connected and autonomous vehicles (“CAVs”).

Given the growing presence of CAVs in the U.S., and the legislative efforts surrounding them, CAVs are likely to play an important role in the future of smart cities.  This post explores how cities are already using smart transportation technologies and how CAV technologies fit into this landscape.  It also addresses the legal issues and practical challenges involved in developing smart transportation systems.  As CAVs and smart cities continue to develop, each technology can leverage the other’s advances and encourage the other’s deployment.


Continue Reading IoT Update: How Smart Cities and Connected Cars May Benefit from Each Other

On November 1, the European Patent Office’s (EPO) updated Guidelines for Examination went into effect. Of note, the Guidelines include a new subsection on “artificial intelligence and machine learning.” This is the latest milestone in a recent world-wide wave of interest in patenting in the field of artificial intelligence. However, the legal framework for patenting such inventions is uncertain, evolving, and not uniform across the globe. This post addresses the current state of artificial intelligence patenting in Europe and the United States in particular, and offers key takeaways that practitioners should consider when drafting and prosecuting patent applications in this field.

Background on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

For context, artificial intelligence (“AI”) may be summarized as the simulation of intelligent human behavior by machines. A subcategory of AI, machine learning (“ML”), refers to ability of systems to learn from data and improve from experience automatically—in other words, without being explicitly programmed. In practice, the beneficial results delivered by AI and ML are rooted in algorithms and mathematical models. These features, however, have generally been excluded from patentability in both Europe and in the United States. While AI and ML hold promise as the next breakthrough technology, this legal precedent raises concerns about the ability to secure and maintain patents in this field.
Continue Reading AI Update: Considerations for Patenting Artificial Intelligence in Europe and the United States

On April 19, 2018, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office released a Memorandum to the Patent Examining Corps regarding changes in examination procedure pertaining to subject matter eligibility in view of the Federal Circuit’s Berkheimer v. HP Inc. decision. Berkheimer held that when a claim is directed to an abstract idea, the question of whether a claim element or combination of elements is “well-understood, routine and conventional to a skilled artisan in the relevant field”—which bears on whether a claimed abstract idea can be transformed into a patent-eligible application—is a question of fact.
Continue Reading How You Can Utilize the USPTO’s Berkheimer Memorandum During Application Drafting, Prosecution and Appeal