Creativity Revisited

15 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2018

See all articles by Ralph D. Clifford

Ralph D. Clifford

University of Massachusetts School of Law at Dartmouth

Date Written: July 1, 2018


In the late 1990s and early 2000s, I wrote two articles on the consequences of using computer-based creativity to create works later claimed for copyright or patent protection: Intellectual Property in the Era of the Creative Computer Program: Will the True Creator Please Stand Up?, 71 Tul. L. Rev. 1675 (1997), and Random Numbers, Chaos Theory, and Cogitation: a Search for the Minimal Creativity Standard in Copyright Law, 82 Denver U. L. Rev. 259 (2004). The basic conclusion of these articles was that substituting artificial intelligence technology [“A.I.”] for human creativity results in works that are in the public domain. This essay, based on a presentation made at the University of New Hampshire’s Scholarship Redux Conference, reexamines the area after a gap of almost fifteen years. It asserts that the basic conclusion of non-protectability made in the two articles was correct, but acknowledges that the focus predominantly on copyright rather than patent law was restricting. Further, when A.I. is examined under patent law concepts, it is likely to cause difficulties beyond those of determining if anyone invented the claimed work. In particular, the expansion of A.I. into a universal tool within research laboratories will require a re-examination of the obviousness of all inventions.

Keywords: Intellectual Property, Patent, Copyright, Creativity, Artificial Intellegence

JEL Classification: K11, O31, O34

Suggested Citation

Clifford, Ralph D., Creativity Revisited (July 1, 2018). IDEA: The IP Law Review, Vol. 59, at 25-47, 2018, Available at SSRN:

Ralph D. Clifford (Contact Author)

University of Massachusetts School of Law at Dartmouth ( email )

333 Faunce Corner Road
North Dartmouth, MA 02747-1252
United States
508-985-1137 (Phone)

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