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France: Intellectual property challenges posed by artificial intelligence

Partner Marie-Aimée de Dampierre published an article in the online summer edition of Les Echos Executives on IP issues in the field of artificial intelligence. This post provides a summary in English and the full article in French is available: here

Now that artificial intelligence is a reality, what challenges does it pose for intellectual property? How can businesses make use of these technologies whilst maintaining their immaterial assets?

Today there are numerous applications for AI technology, for example, analyzing massive amounts of medical data in order to understand a patient’s symptoms and suggest treatment.

With AI, the algorithm is no longer completely written by a human. It is partially created by the application itself which processes enormous amounts of data and learns to make its own choices.

Creative machines

The implications of this technological shift for intellectual property law are major. If an AI system creates a new musical composition, can this creation be covered by copyright? The answer to the basic question “who is the author?” is no longer clear.

Can we consider the people at the origin of the technology as creators; even if this technology goes on to develop creations unimagined at the start?

In France, to obtain copyright protection, a creation is required to bear the mark of its author’s personality. The question of the protectability of an AI creation thus becomes inevitable. Other questions regarding the patentability of AI creations and the responsibility for intellectual property right infringements that such creations may cause must also be asked.

Current protection mechanisms

Companies using AI technologies today should be vigilant about their usage conditions. Ownership and usage of models and applications created by such technology should be precisely established from the start.

In practice, companies are currently favoring trade secret law which provides greater protection and confidentiality than patents. In France, the new trade secrets law reinforces existing legal protection for businesses working with AI.

Companies can anticipate future challenges posed by AI and account for them in their current strategies regarding the protection of their intellectual property.

For further information on the implications of Artificial Intelligence across industry sectors please visit our topic center