Early stage companies Invents new artificial intelligence-based solutions, but they often face questions about whether such technology can be protected and the best strategy to do so.
Without understanding how to protect their R&D investment and claim ownership of the technology, startup companies are leaving a tool behind, potentially losing market share and investment as a result.
The following considerations are useful for companies trying to understand the possibilities of protecting their inventions.
Artificial intelligence inventions can be patented
AI software can be patented and applicants are seeking protection at a staggering rate. In 2000, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) received 10,000 applications aimed at artificial intelligence, and by 2020 that number had reached 80,000 applications, 77% of which were approved.
Despite some challenges related to ineligible software and business methods for patent protection, we have been obtaining patent protection for AI innovations for many years. In fact, the USPTO also issued guidelines for eligibility that gave an example of training a neural network. Patentable inventions may relate to improvements in a particular model, implementation of the model, improved training, or other aspects.
Disclosure of technology, whether planned at a conference or partner meeting or unplanned and incidental, can result in loss of patent rights.
The USPTO describes AI innovation as including the following component technologies: planning/control, knowledge processing, speech, AI hardware, evolutionary computation, natural language processing, machine learning, and vision.
If a company has an innovative feature that differentiates itself from competitors, patent protection can be a valuable tool for gaining a competitive advantage, perhaps even in combination with copyright and trade secret protection.
Direct patent coverage for identifiable features
Patents serve to exclude others from making, using, selling, or selling an infringing product or method. When another company asserts that it infringes a patent, we examine the claims that define the property right. If another company practices every aspect of the claim, that company is infringing.