Patent Strategies in the AI Era


Artificial intelligence (AI) is assuming a progressively vital role in driving innovation, with systems like IBM’s Watson and Google’s DeepMind being deployed to solve some of the most significant technical, scientific, and medical challenges of our time. As AI-generated inventions become prevalent, questions arise about how the patent system will protect them and whether it should accommodate non-human inventors. This blog post will show the current state of AI and Patent Strategies and the implications for the future of patentability.

Recent trends in AI patent filings

The rapid expansion of AI technologies is evident in various applications, from creative AI models like DALL-E and ChatGPT to household and industrial uses such as autonomous vehicles and virtual assistants. This growth is reflected in patent filing trends, with AI being the fastest-growing central technology area in global patent filings. Critical aspects of patent applications encompass machine learning, image interpretation, voice identification, and natural language processing. The USPTO has acknowledged the importance of AI patenting by initiating the AI and Emerging Technology Partnership in June 2022. However, global patent offices and courts maintain that AI systems cannot be named as inventors under existing patent systems. In the upcoming webinar, we will discuss more trends in patent feelings and the future of IP.

Patenting AI Algorithms and Models

While the debate around AI’s role in invention continues, the intricacies of patenting AI algorithms and models present their unique challenges and perspectives. The AI market is projected to reach $1.811.75 billion by 2030, and companies prioritizing AI innovation will lead the pack. Patenting AI algorithms can provide a significant competitive advantage, as AI patents have grown exponentially in recent years.

AI algorithms are procedures for solving problems or performing computations, often used in social media platforms like Instagram to personalize user content. Patenting AI algorithms is complex and requires determining if the algorithm is patentable, searching the patent database, describing the algorithm’s patent claims, and hiring a patent attorney with AI expertise.

 Case studies of successful AI patents include Coinbase’s Instant Exchange System and Google’s patent on “Dropout” in machine learning. Working with an experienced patent attorney when patenting AI algorithms is crucial to secure your invention and gain a competitive advantage in the rapidly growing AI market.

Patenting AI Applications and Use Cases

Despite the firm stance of global patent offices and courts against recognizing AI systems as inventors, the landscape is somewhat different when patenting AI applications and use cases. Here, the challenges shift, opening up many possibilities and questions on adequately protecting the intellectual property of AI-driven solutions.

Patenting AI applications and use cases can be complex and evolving, as intellectual property laws and regulations vary by country and constantly adapt to new technologies. However, I can provide you with some general information and steps to consider when patenting AI-related inventions:

1.       Understanding Patentable Subject Matter:

Ensure your AI application or use case is eligible for patent protection. In most countries, patents are granted for novel, non-obvious, and practical inventions. AI-related inventions, such as algorithms, software, and hardware, can be eligible for patents if they meet these criteria.

2.       Conduct a Patent Search on prior art:

Before proceeding with a patent application, it’s essential to search existing patents and published applications to determine if your AI application is novel. This step helps you avoid wasting time and resources on an already patented invention.

3.       Document Your Invention:

Maintain detailed records of your AI invention, including descriptions, diagrams, and supporting evidence of its uniqueness and utility. This documentation will be essential for the patent application process.

4.       Choose the Right Type of Patent:

Depending on your AI invention, you may need to choose between utility patents (covering processes, machines, or compositions of matter) and design patents (covering ornamental designs). The choice depends on the nature of your invention.

5.       File a Patent Application:

Prepare and file a patent application with your country’s office or a relevant international patent authority. Your submission should encompass a thorough exposition of your AI innovation and, where appropriate, provide comprehensive details regarding the AI algorithm or associated software code.

6.       Work with a Patent Attorney or Agent:

Consider hiring a patent attorney or agent experienced in AI-related patents. Their expertise can assist you in maneuvering through the intricate patent application procedure, guaranteeing that your application complies with all legal prerequisites and is optimized for a successful outcome.

7.       International Considerations:

If your AI application has global potential, you may need to file for patents in multiple countries. International patent treaties, like the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), can streamline the process by allowing you to file a single international application.

8.       Examine and Respond to Office Actions:

After submitting your patent application, the office will examine it and may issue office actions with questions or objections. Be prepared to respond to these and work with your attorney to address any issues.

9.       Maintain Your Patent:

Once your patent is granted, you must pay maintenance fees and comply with other requirements to keep it in force. Please do so to avoid the patent expiring.

10.   Enforce Your Patent Rights:

If someone else uses your patented AI technology without permission, you may need to take legal action to enforce your patent rights. Seek advice from your legal counsel to ascertain the most suitable course of action.

11.   Monetize Your Patent:

After obtaining a patent, explore various monetization strategies, such as licensing, selling, commercialization, partnerships, consulting, subscription models, training, customization, and more, to generate revenue from your AI invention.

It’s important to note that the patent landscape for AI is still evolving, and the interpretation of patent laws for AI-related inventions can vary. 

Examining real-world examples of companies with strong AI patent portfolios

Key AI Areas
Example of AI Patent
Natural language processing, Cloud computing, Quantum computing
The AI-driven heart monitoring system interprets electrocardiogram data to predict irregular heart rhythms.
Cloud services (Azure), Microsoft Office applications, Xbox gaming
AI system makes video game characters more responsive and realistic based on player actions.
Machine learning, Deep learning, Neural networks
AI system for optimizing energy usage in data centers using deep reinforcement learning.
Consumer electronics enhancements (smartphones, TVs, appliances)
AI-driven user interface enhancements for smartphones adapting based on user behavior.
Hardware acceleration for AI computations in mobile devices
AI-optimized chip design for efficient deep learning computations with minimal power use.
Deep learning, Autonomous driving, Voice recognition
Patents related to the Apollo autonomous driving platform detailing AI responses to complex urban traffic scenarios.

Future Trends in AI Patents

As we look forward to future trends in AI patents, we must recognize the potential shifts and transformations that may redefine how we understand and protect AI-driven innovations.

The future trends in AI patents are expected to show continuous growth, particularly in the healthcare, image processing, transportation, IoT automation, and fintech domains. As the demand for e-learning, sustainable transport solutions, remote-based medical and diagnostic solutions, and digital financial services continues to grow, more investments and innovations in these sectors are expected. Overall, the patent filing trend in AI is expected to continue to grow.

Moving forward

Artificial intelligence’s impact on global innovation is profound and transformative. As AI applications expand across sectors, navigating the patent landscape is paramount. Despite debates regarding AI’s status as an ‘inventor,’ the surge in patent filings underscores the importance of safeguarding these breakthroughs. Mastery of AI patent strategies is becoming increasingly essential as AI continues influencing various industries. Keeping abreast of changing regulations, collaborating with IP professionals, and drawing insights from global patent precedents are pivotal for stakeholders aiming to lead in the AI domain.

Iveta Petrova
Head Of Product Management Posts

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