Navigating Intellectual Property Challenges for AI-Enabled Companies

During DigSouth’s 1st Annual Charleston AI Summit on March 28, 2024, patent attorney Dr. Jeremy M. Stipkala participated in a panel discussion addressing the pressing challenges and advantages confronting AI-Enabled Companies in safeguarding their intellectual property rights. Here’s a glimpse into the key insights shared:

Challenges Facing AI-Enabled Companies:

  1. Copyright Infringement Concerns: Dr. Stipkala emphasized the inherent risks of copyright infringement when utilizing third-party content to train AI models.
  2. Regulatory Landscape: With the emergence of AI technology, there’s a looming regulatory landscape aiming to mitigate risks ranging from copyright infringement to potential societal threats akin to a “Skynet” scenario.
  3. Privacy Issues: The intersection of AI and privacy raises significant concerns, particularly when AI-generated output inadvertently discloses private information of identifiable individuals.

Advantages Offered by Intellectual Property Law:

Dr. Stipkala outlined several avenues through which intellectual property law can benefit AI-Enabled Companies:

  • Protection of Input, Model, and Output Data: Intellectual property law provides avenues to safeguard the various facets of AI technology, including input data, the AI model itself, and the resulting output or work product.
  • Authorship and Ownership Clarification: Recent guidance from the US Copyright Office and the US Patent and Trademark Office emphasize the need for human involvement in the authorship and inventorship of protectable intellectual properties. Dr. Stipkala used the analogy of a digital photograph: while many scientists and engineers contributed to the technology enabling the digital photograph, the law is well settled that the person who points the camera and pushes the button is the author.

Navigating the complexities of intellectual property law in the realm of AI requires a nuanced understanding of copyright, patent, and trademark principles. Dr. Stipkala’s insights, shared during DigSouth’s AI Summit, shed light on both the challenges and advantages awaiting AI-Enabled Companies in their quest to protect their innovations and creations.

By addressing these legal considerations proactively, companies can safeguard their intellectual property assets and foster innovation in the evolving landscape of AI technology.