Louis-Pierre Gravelle, a lawyer, engineer, and patent agent at Robic (robic.com) gives a thorough overview of the many issues that relate to patents and property rights in the ever-expanding field of artificial intelligence (AI).
Robic is a boutique IP firm based in Canada that specializes in the protection and commercialization of intellectual property (IP) rights and other intangible assets, and of course any necessary litigation and/or transaction support. Founded in 1892 by engineers, the Marion brothers, the firm established its longstanding reputation of excellence under the direction of its eponymous principal, Raymond A. Robic. Since its establishment 125 years ago, Robic has grown expansively and is now home to over 180 employees.
Gravelle’s background in engineering and his particular interest in 3D printing has made him well suited for the countless AI issues and cases that are arising with hurried frequency in the advancing technology world. Gravelle states that AI patent applications are becoming commonplace, with the largest tech companies such as Microsoft, Google, and Amazon leading the way.
As much of the work in AI of years past was generated in academia, a preponderance of core information and many basic algorithms are currently part of the public domain. And this makes for an interesting set of circumstances as new products are developed that could be tied, in part, to public domain data and key information. Gravelle discusses the difficulties that can arise in the determination of whose patented process a particular AI product follows. Thus potential infringement of rights is a complex area that requires intensive research in order to establish a clear resolution of rights.
The law partner provides an overview of granted claims and infringement issues regarding IP and AI and how decisions are sometimes made in the process. For example, in the field of medical diagnostics with competitive companies that use AI engines to detect specific disease through in vivo or other diagnostics, it is often challenging to find the line where research crosses into infringement. And often times these are the areas where patent issues become lawsuits.
In regard to 3D printing, Gravelle discusses how materials such as circuits, metals, and powders that go into the finish and solidity of the products are becoming an area of great interest in the IP legal arena as well. Additionally, he explains how issues in the legal tech field are expanding rapidly. Legal tech, in basic terms, would be classified as any computer-aided tool that assists an individual working in the legal arena, such as tools used for natural language processing, etc.
As IP issues concerning AI and other intangible assets are increasing, Gravelle states that the complex issues that arise in regard to potential infringement are of great importance to rights holders.