Data-Centric Technologies: Patent and Copyright Doctrinal Disruptions

36 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2019 Last revised: 18 May 2020

Date Written: May 24, 2019


Data-centric technologies create information content that directly controls, modifies, or responds to the physical world. This information content resides in the digital world yet has profound economic and societal impact in the physical world. 3D printing and artificial intelligence are examples of data-centric technologies. 3D printing utilizes digital data for eventual printing of physical goods. Artificial intelligence learns from data sets to make predictions or automated decisions for use in physical applications and systems. 3D printing and artificial intelligence technologies are based on digital foundations, blur the digital and physical divide, and dramatically improve physical goods, objects, products, or systems. Data-centric technologies have crossed national borders and rapidly attained adoption, even while patent law and copyright law have been slow to respond. This Article focuses on 3D printing and artificial intelligence technologies and their doctrinal disruptions through a conceptual matrix formulation. It describes how recent litigation over data-centric technologies has repercussions for creators and inventors in the protection of data-centric innovations. Data-centric technologies’ doctrinal disruptions necessitate reevaluation of copyright and patent doctrines, which were spawned in an era of human/physical considerations to now including human/digital, non-human/physical, and non-human/digital considerations. The future of patent law and copyright law will be dominated by non-human/digital considerations and will impact innovation policy.

Keywords: data, data-centric, digitization, digital transmission, digital control, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, predictive analytics, doctrinal, patent law, copyright law, innovation

JEL Classification: 034

Suggested Citation

Ebrahim, Tabrez, Data-Centric Technologies: Patent and Copyright Doctrinal Disruptions (May 24, 2019). Nova Law Review, Vol. 43, 2019, Available at SSRN:

Tabrez Ebrahim (Contact Author)

Lewis & Clark Law School ( email )

10015 S.W. Terwilliger Blvd.
Portland, OR 97219
United States

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