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Author v. Inventor, and the robot

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The purpose of this presentation is to compare European copyright and patent laws in relation to AI’s "computational" creativity. Is any of the two systems compatible with it?

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Author v. Inventor, and the robot

  1. 1. 9 May 2019 – Sapientia Hungarian University of Transylvania, Cluj-Napoca Francesco Banterle - Giovanni Trabucco Author v. Inventor, and the Robot
  2. 2. | 2 Copyright vs patents in relation to AI’s "computational" creativity. Is any of the two systems compatible with it? Disclaimer: the purpose of this presentation is to compare copyright and patent laws. Apologies for being quick on certain aspects What are we talking about?
  3. 3. | 3 From an IP perspective it is useful to distinguish: • Assisted • Augmented • Autonomous (= "computational") Continuum What is artificial intelligence?
  4. 4. | 4 Oral-B CrossAction (Creativity Machine – Dr. Stephen Thaler) AI Inventions
  5. 5. | 5 BPM 31510 (ubidecarenone) – BERG AI Inventions
  6. 6. | 6 Computoser AI Creations
  7. 7. | 7 Edmond de Belamy, from La Famille de Belamy AI Creations min G max D Ex[log(D(x))]+Ez [log(1-D(G(z))] $432,500
  8. 8. | 8 • Is the concept of invention compatible with computational inventions? • Is the current authorship/ownership regime compatible with computational inventions? • Can AI be an inventor? If not, does this affect patentability of computational inventions? European patent law and computational inventions Patents
  9. 9. | 9 No definition of invention in EPC or Italian Industrial Property Code (IPC) "European patents shall be granted for any inventions, in all fields of technology, provided that they are new, involve an inventive step and are susceptible of industrial application" • New and original solution to a technical problem that is suitable for industrial application (functional definition) • As long as it meets the mandatory requirements + subject-matter not excluded from patentability = patentable invention • Dynamic concept, to adapt to technological development • In the patentability requirements the «inventor» and its «intellectual» creation do not come up • Not anthropocentric view of invention (although hints of "inventor's creativity" in case law and scholarly approaches in EPO Member States) Invention
  10. 10. | 10 An invention shall be considered as involving an inventive step if, having regard to the state of the art, it is not obvious to a person skilled in the art. Person skilled in the art: 1. abstract model that is only aware of the state of the art in the technical field of the invention (not "medicine", but "oncology", or – if applicable – "paediatric oncology") + common general knowledge (text books) 2. may be a team, and thus be aware of multiple technical fields ("chemistry" + "oncology") 3. may know other fields, if neighbouring or even remote (respectively, if common to know or if prompted to do so) No human prerequisite, just human parameter (obviousness) Inventive step
  11. 11. | 11 Initial ownership of the invention belongs to the inventor An application and a patent certificate must name the inventor No definition of inventor in the EPC or IPC. However, the inventor is generally framed as a human being. • Art. 60(2) EPC: "If two or more persons have made an invention independently of each other…" • Art. 185 IPC: the patent application must include first and last name of the inventor • Art 62 IPC: the moral right to inventorship may be enforced by the inventor itself and – after its death – by its spouse, its descendants, its ascendants or, in lack thereof, by other relatives up to the fourth degree Inventor
  12. 12. | 12 What happens if the applicant omits or names a wrong inventor? Inventor Art. 81(1) EPC: "The European patent application shall designate the inventor" If the designation of the inventor is absent or deficient and the inventor does not provide the name within 16 months from the filing/priority date the application is refused (Art. 60 + 90(5) EPC) Invalidity is subject to local law. Italy: if the missing/incorrect designation goes unnoticed, this is not a cause of revocation of the patent (numerus clausus rule) > inventor is not a substantial requirement But > procedural issue
  13. 13. | 13 • Is copyright subject matter (originality) compatible with computational works? • Can AI be an author? If not, does this affect copyright protection of computational works? EU copyright law and computational works Copyright
  14. 14. | 14 • Art. 1(3) Software Directive, Art. 3(1) Database Directive, Art. 6 Term of Protection Directive Computer programs, databases and photographs shall be protected if they are original in the sense that they are the author's own intellectual creation. No other criteria shall be applied to determine their eligibility for protection. • Recital 16 of Term of Protection Directive A photographic work […] is to be considered original if it is the author's own intellectual creation reflecting his personality. But… • Article 2(1) Software Directive - Authorship of computer programs 1. The author of a computer program shall be the natural person or group of natural persons who has created the program or, where the legislation of the Member State permits, the legal person designated as the rightholder by that legislation. [it is a legal fiction - still, an initial human author seems to be necessary] Originality – In the law Work protected by copyright
  15. 15. | 15 • CJEU – Infopaq decision Extension the notion of originality as author's own intellectual creation to subject-matter falling within InfoSoc Directive. • CJEU – Football Dataco decision [T]he notion of the author’s own intellectual creation refers to the criterion of originality. [T]hat criterion of originality is satisfied when […] its author expresses his creative ability in an original manner by making free and creative choices […] and thus stamps his ‘personal touch’. By contrast, that criterion is not satisfied when the setting up of the database is dictated by technical considerations, rules or constraints which leave no room for creative freedom. • CJEU – Phil Collins/EMI Electrola decision The specific subject-matter of copyright and related rights is "to ensure the protection of the moral and economic rights of their holders" Originality – In the case law Work protected by copyright
  16. 16. | 16 • Art 1 Term of Protection Directive The rights of an author of a literary or artistic work within the meaning of Article 2 of the Berne Convention shall run for the life of the author and for 70 years after his death, irrespective of the date when the work is lawfully made available to the public. • Art 6bis Berne Convention Independently of the author's economic rights […] the author shall have the right to claim authorship of the work and to object to any distortion, mutilation or other modification of, or other derogatory action in relation to, the said work, which would be prejudicial to his honor or reputation. The[se ] rights […] shall, after his death, be maintained, at least until the expiry of the economic rights, and shall be exercisable by the persons or institutions authorized by the legislation of the country where protection is claimed. Authorship Originality = creativity + existence of an author (Ramalho 2017-2019)
  17. 17. | 17 • Authors and inventors are framed in EU law as humans • They have moral rights on their works and these rights are passed upon (often: to their heirs) after their death • Human authors are part of the requirements for copyright protection (author's own intellectual creation) • This is not the case for patents: functional definition (new, inventive, industrial applicability) • The "human" nature of the inventor appears to be less structural in the patent system than that of the "author" for copyright • Also computational inventions cannot be protected for procedural reasons Interim conclusions
  18. 18. | 18 • Does it mean that AI works/inventions should not be protected? Issues
  19. 19. | 19 If AI works/inventions (and the relevant investments) cannot be protected the short term solution is to interpret AI as a super-tool in the creative process. • Dominant approach: AI cannot "create" but is – at best – a sophisticated tool that is used to reach the invention/create the work • Especially in patent law: humans, not the machine, define the problem to be solved, set the parameters to solve it, identify the best solution (e.g. Oral-B CrossAction: selection of designs provided) • (if necessary): changing the mental act - conception AI as a tool
  20. 20. | 20 • The AI user • The AI programmer (trainer, provider of data, software developer….) • The AI owner • The person that recognizes that the AI's output is a patentable invention or an original work • And potentially others… possibly too fragmented? AI is now being developed by very large research groups Peripheral natural inventors/authors "behind" the AI
  21. 21. | 21 • CJEU (Painer) example on photographs: free and creative choices in several ways and at various points in its production: – Preparation phase: the photographer can choose the background, the subject’s pose and the lighting. – Execution phase: when taking a portrait photograph, he can choose the framing, the angle of view and the atmosphere created. – Selection phase: when selecting the snapshot, the photographer may choose from a variety of developing techniques the one he wishes to adopt or, where appropriate, use computer software. • By making those various choices, the author of a portrait photograph can stamp the work created with his ‘personal touch’. • From creation to conceptualisation? (Hugenholtz) Changing the mental act – Copyright
  22. 22. | 22 • The process to reach the invention is generally irrelvant and not to be disclosed • Problem conception at the core: towards problem inventions • Conception as devising the problem, setting the data and controlling the process But what if AI start creating/inventing autonomously? Changing the mental act – Patents
  23. 23. | 23 • Patent law seems more ready to adapt to autonomous computational inventions • Balancing tools: the requirements for protection are based on technical merits (obviousness). Inventive step in patent would be changed in case AI role is disclosed • Not disclosing the role of AI would result in a wrong attribution and not maximise the goal of patent system against an evolution of the inventive process • Shift from an inventor-based system to an invention-based/investment protection system (in terms of ownership – works for hire model) Patents
  24. 24. | 24 Inventive step – Person skilled in the art AI as a tool in the invention process AI may also affect the level of skill of the person skilled in the art. EPO: "the skilled person has at his disposal the means and the capacity for routine work and experimentation", which are normal in the field of the technology. Is the use of AI a "routine" tool in the relevant field? NO: patent inventive if not obvious to the skilled person without use of AI (even if AI has done most of the work) YES: the skilled person is "improved" with the AI. No inventive step if obvious to skilled person + AI (even if you didn't use AI)
  25. 25. | 25 Inventive step – Person skilled in the art AI as a tool in the invention process • Yet: very complex to assess the capabilities of "normal" AI tool • How can patent examiners, patent attorneys and Judges assess this? – Not disclosed in the application – Output difficult to predict (and may be different if the same input is fed to the system twice); – Training data (standard/non standard) – Examined data set – Self-learning and improving mechanisms… • If the invention results from a large number of calculations, or brute force trial- and-error testing may seem non-obvious, but the result is inevitable?
  26. 26. | 26 • Opening to AI creation would mean re-thinking copyright • Solutions proposed: – sui generis regime? Drawing parallels with the database producer’s right, the most suitable rationale for protection of AI generated works would be investment protection. – Public domain solution with publication/dissemination rights for a limited amount of time – Short term copyright protection with no moral rights • The right solution to be adopted needs economic justification – need to understand whether market failure exists: this should be assessed by economists. • Solution will have to be coordinated with liability for AI actions Copyright
  27. 27. Thanks! fbanterle@gmail.com giovanni.trabucco@phd.unibocconi.it

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