Open consultation: Artificial intelligence and intellectual property: call for views

Intellectual Property Office

September 7
08:00 2020

Intellectual property:

Intellectual Property rewards people for creativity and innovation. It is crucial to the proper functioning of an innovative economy.

The UK is voted one of the best IP environments in the world. To keep it that way we are keen to look ahead to the challenges that new technologies bring. We need to make sure the UKs IP environment is adapted to accommodate them. We want to build on the governments ambitious R&D Roadmap. This will include support for traditionally R&D intensive industries and encourage growth in transformational new technology sectors. In short, we want the UK to remain at the forefront of the AI and data revolution.

Artificial intelligence:

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are enabling. They are transforming the global economy and already an integral part of our lives. They impact our workplace, our homes, our transportation, and our healthcare.

There is no single agreed definition of artificial intelligence. The government defined AI as:

technologies with the ability to perform tasks that would otherwise require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, and language translation.

This call for views uses this definition and does not seek to consider the impact of concepts such as an AI superintelligence, or an AI as a legal entity.

How you can help us:

In this call for views, we want to understand the implications AI might have for IP policy. We also need to understand the impact IP might have for AI, in the near to medium term.We want your ideas, expertise, and insight. This call for views sets out how we believe the IP framework relates to AI at present. It also poses a number of questions which we believe are of central importance to the future of AI and IP policy.

How this call for views structured:

This call for views has five sections covering:

  • patents
  • copyright and related rights
  • designs
  • trade marks
  • trade secrets

These sections set out the legal context and policy background. They pose questions about the intersection of AI and IP.

A sixth section provides a summary of questions asked across the IP rights.Respondents should feel free to provide answers which cut across the IP rights where relevant.

AI technology is also important in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy. It is being considered in various areas to help support enforcement of IP rights. This call for views looks at the legal framework relating to the IP rights set out above and does not consider the use of AI tools to combat IP infringement. However, we do recognise and support the use of such technology by IP rightsholders.

Additionally, the IPOs Corporate Plan 2019-2020 makes a strong commitment to a digital transformation programme. This will provide enhanced services for customers and improved tools for our people. Long term, we anticipate that AI will play a part in the transformation programme. As AI technology develops, this will inform the IPOs digital offering. However, this does not fall within the scope of this call for views.


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