Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Intellectual Property: Protecting Computer-Generated Works in the United Kingdom
Research Handbook on Intellectual Property and Digital Technologies (Tanya Aplin, ed), Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd, Forthcoming
16 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2017 Last revised: 15 Oct 2019
Date Written: November 2, 2017
Big data and its use by artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the way intellectual property is developed and granted. For decades, machines have been autonomously generating works which have traditionally been eligible for copyright and patent protection. Now, the growing sophistication of AI and the prevalence of big data is positioned to transform computer-generated works (CGWs) into major contributors to the creative and inventive economies. However, intellectual property law is poorly prepared for this eventuality. The UK is one of the few nations, and perhaps the only EU member state, to explicitly provide copyright protection for CGWs. It is silent on patent protection for CGWs.
This chapter makes several contributions to the literature. First, it provides an up-to-date review of UK, EU and international law. Second, it argues that patentability of CGWs is a matter of first impression in the UK, but that CGWs should be eligible for patent protection as a matter of policy. Finally, it argues that the definition of CGWs should be amended to reflect the fact that a computer can be an author or inventor in a joint work with a person.
Keywords: patents, computer-generated works, inventive machines, robot law, intellectual property, international harmonization
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