Shaping the Future: Will the Regulatory Framework for Artificial Intelligence protect your intellectual property?

As Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to redefine the boundaries of innovation and proves to be of enormous benefit to society, it is imperative that governments around the world move quickly to regulate this technology appropriately

The forward-thinking initiative sets out clear rules and guidelines for the development, deployment, and use of AI systems.

The European Union (EU) has already started initiative-taking steps to develop a robust regulatory framework, recognising the significance of AI's impact on society, and reflects a delicate balance between fostering innovation and safeguarding ethical principles. But how far does this regulatory framework go in protecting intellectual property?

Regulation Approach

At the heart of the EU's regulatory approach lies the commitment to trustworthiness, respect for fundamental rights (including those set out in the Treaties of the European Union and Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union), and user safety. The EU acknowledges that AI systems must be developed and deployed in a manner that aligns with societal values. By emphasising transparency, accountability, and fairness, the EU aims to address potential risks associated with AI, such as biases and privacy breaches. The approach not only safeguards individual rights but also builds trust among users and consumers.

This forward-thinking initiative sets out clear rules and guidelines for the development, deployment, and use of AI systems. The proposed regulation empowers the EU to impose large fines, up to 6% of a company's global turnover, for non-compliance. Such strong enforcement mechanisms demonstrate the EU's commitment to ensuring that AI systems adhere to ethical standards and responsible practices.

Balancing Innovation and Risk

Striking the right balance between fostering innovation and mitigating risks is a complex challenge faced by the EU. The EU recognises the transformative potential of AI in driving economic growth and societal progress, however, it equally acknowledges the need to protect individuals and society from potential harms arising from fast-evolving technology. The regulatory framework aims to create an environment that supports innovation while setting up clear guidelines and safeguards to minimise risks. By doing so, the EU looks to foster responsible AI development that helps all stakeholders.

Importance of Cooperation

The EU understands that addressing the multifaceted challenges posed by AI requires international collaboration. The EU actively engages with international partners to develop global standards and norms for AI regulation, and by collaborating on issues such as data sharing, interoperability, and ethical guidelines, they aim to set up a cohesive and harmonised approach. International cooperation ensures that the ethical, legal, and social implications of AI are addressed comprehensively, fostering a responsible and inclusive AI ecosystem.

Relevance to Patent Law

The regulatory framework for AI within the EU also intersects with patent law, as AI technology becomes increasingly integrated into innovative products and processes. Patent law plays a vital role in incentivising AI research and development by granting exclusive rights to inventors.

There is often a perception that gaining patent protection for AI inventions is challenging. However, valuable patent protection can be obtained for inventions relating to both “core AI” developments i.e. an invention which represents an advance in the field of AI itself, as well as inventions based on the application of AI in certain uses. AI is increasingly being applied to a variety of technical disciplines including the field of medical technology.

Developments include the integration of AI in digital pathology to enable faster, more accurate and thorough diagnoses of diseases as well as its application in the increasingly important field of telemedicine.

The number of patents being filed in these specific areas of technology has increased significantly in the last 10 years with European patents being granted to inter alia computer implemented methods for analysing markers in biological samples, innovations in telemedicine whereby patients can be monitored in remote locations and enable patients and clinicians to communicate in real-time together with AI-driven robotic systems for use in surgical procedures.

Companies working at the forefront of AI-assisted technologies must carefully consider the potential regulatory frameworks within which they may have to operate in going forwards, as well as the need to protect their Intellectual Assets in a field that appears to be evolving at lightning speed.

The regulatory framework for AI in the European Union exemplifies a visionary and comprehensive approach to address the challenges and opportunities presented by AI technology. As the EU paves the way for responsible AI practices, it sets a powerful example for other regions, setting up a framework that ensures AI works for the benefit of society while promoting innovation and upholding fundamental values.

If in doubt, contact your IP provider to discuss whether your AI innovations are protectable. At Secerna we have attorneys experienced in carrying out audits to identify potentially protectable IP. It is never too early to check, and we recommend regular reviews.

At Secerna LLP, we provide an unrivalled, integrated service focussed on the protection, enforcement and defence of your intellectual assets. We have expertise in the following sectors:

• Electronics, ICT & AI

• Advanced engineering

• Life sciences

• Chemistry & pharmaceuticals

We can provide you with trusted, expert advice for key intellectual property issues. For details, contact Dermot Roche, Patent Director at Secerna LLP.