AI and Intellectual Property Rights: Navigating the Digital Frontier

Khurana and Khurana, Advocates and IP Attorneys India

The history of the word ‘Artificial Intelligence’ can be traced back to the year 1956 when it was first coined at Dartmouth College.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is essentially the intelligence produced by ‘machines’. For a clear and more sophisticated understanding, we can say that any intelligence that is opposed to the natural flow of intelligence demonstrated by ‘animals and living beings’ falls under the connotation of Artificial Intelligence.

The Intellectual Property (IP) is affiliated to any authentic invention of human intelligence such as artistic, literary, technical, or scientific creation. Primarily, these are the intangible properties that existed in the creator’s thought (idea) which is later converted to tangible (existing in reality) property. On the other hand, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) refer to the legal rights granted to the creator or founder to safeguard his invention or design for a certain period. IPR in India is rather new and still in its budding stage.

Intellectual property rights (IPR) concerns have become crucial as AI technologies develop at an unprecedented pace. How can we safeguard AI-generated creations? Who is the owner of the inventions produced by machine learning algorithms? These questions dive deep into the IPR and AI nexus, a fascinating and challenging area that we are only now starting to grasp. The world is continuously changing, and in the era of pandemics, we have seen some significant technological changes and some brilliant scientific concepts. Therefore, it is crucial to evaluate the effectiveness of technological advancements from a legal standpoint. This essay will discuss how artificial intelligence may evolve into the field of intellectual property. Since Artificial Intelligence (AI) is developing so quickly, closely examining the current IP regulations is important.

As of this very moment, intellectual property law does not contain any laws pertaining to artificial intelligence (AI). But as we shall see later in this piece, there is a significant degree of interaction and correlation between the two. These days, artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly advancing everywhere in the globe and becoming within the purview of intellectual property rights (IPR). It is now imperative that the system accept this and change some of the current rules.

Intellectual Property (IP) and Artificial Intelligence (AI)

One essential instrument for preserving and encouraging human ingenuity is the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). It appears that the topic of artificial intelligence and regulations like copyright and patents is still relatively fresh. The main topic of conversation when it comes to Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is frequently how to distinguish between real human consciousness and artificial consciousness. Determining who is responsible for such technologies' failures is one of the major problems. The World Intellectual Property Organisation, or WIPO, is actively engaged in discussions and always looking for ways to put such issues to rest.

The existing Intellectual Property (IP) laws are not competent to address issues regarding the identification of inventors and other violations when Artificial Intelligence (AI) is involved with creation. There are numerous challenges before the policymakers, and this has been a topic of continuous debate in the domain of lawmakers and experts.

World: The Contemporary Legal Scenario

Presently, there is no specific law governing the role of self-involvement of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in innovations. However, there have been some legal developments regarding the topic over time. The United States considers humans as copyright holders. The situation in the United States is also a challenging one. Fairly recently, The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) declined a petition involving Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems and inventors. 

DABUS (an AI system that stands for “device for the autonomous bootstrapping of unified sentience”) created by Stephen Thaler has a long history in different jurisdictions. Some of them are ongoing as well.

 The European Union maintains a similar stance as the United States. Many Patent courts have repeatedly declined to give the inventor status to Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems. But recently, South Africa has become the first country to grant patent status to DABUS. However, there are still some fusses regarding the decision around the world of experts. However, this shows the potential of AI systems and their integration with Intellectual Property (IP). Even the Australian courts have recently found out that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is capable of being an ‘inventor’. 

Several countries and patent offices are taking cognizance of the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems, however, the majority of them have not been able to turn things around.

India – Ownership and Artificial Intelligence (AI)

India is one of the major countries when we talk about technological advancement. India has an enormous population. And with such a tremendous population, there is immense commercial scope for the advent of tech companies in the country. Moreover, India is still in its developing phase. There is an adequate establishment of copyright and patent laws in the legal framework of the country. But, like many other countries, India also lacks a provision for the regulation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) with the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).

The concept of giving an inventor status to machines is still questionable and unfamiliar in the country. This comes from the implied and direct assumptions from the Copyright Act and the Patents Act of 1970, respectively.

Some of the provisions in the existing laws restrict the expansion of the idea of a creator. Thus, only humans can obtain protection under the existing laws in India.

Legal Challenges

Patenting AI Inventions:

AI's capability to invent and innovate introduces another layer of complexity. The question of whether AI-generated inventions meet the criteria for patentability raises concerns. Patent laws traditionally require inventions to be the result of human intellect. However, AI algorithms, through machine learning and autonomous decision-making, can develop novel solutions to complex problems. This prompts legal discussions on how patent laws should adapt to accommodate AI-generated inventions while ensuring fair competition and innovation.

Ethical and Legal Implications:

Apart from ownership and patent issues, AI's role in IPR also raises ethical concerns. The use of AI in intellectual property enforcement, such as identifying copyright infringement or trademark violations, raises questions about privacy, data security, and algorithmic biases. Striking a balance between utilizing AI for efficient enforcement and protecting individuals' rights is a challenge that legal frameworks must address.

Possible Solutions to the Legal Challenges

In response to the complex legal problems faced by AI-generated designs, numerous proactive measures can be taken to provide a fair and equitable approach to intellectual property rights. In addressing the issue of ownership, it is necessary to establish clear guidelines that recognize the contribution of the human creator, the organization utilizing AI, and the AI system, for fair distribution of authorship. Additionally, a clear criterion must be set to differentiate reproduction from genuine innovation for effective copyright protection. A framework governing the permissible use of copyrighted material is essential to prevent infringement and ensure the ethical use of intellectual property. Stakeholders' roles and responsibilities should be defined for accountability and smoother dispute resolution. There is a need to encourage international cooperation and collaboration to develop unified standards for the protection of AI-generated designs that will streamline the legal process, facilitate cross-border protection, and ensure effective enforcement of intellectual property rights.


There are a lot of challenges wherever Intellectual Property (IP) crosses the path of Artificial Intelligence (AI) established innovations regarding disclosure, copyright laws, definitions of inventor and owner, and violations. The current model in the majority of the world is not equipped well enough to answer such questions. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is going through monumental growth, and with an increase in complexity of the systems, the existing laws are unable to cope-up with the rapid pace of technological developments. However, the increasing cognition and new disclosures have reinvigorated this challenging process. For the time being, the conventional laws need to acknowledge the technology as soon as possible because the world will keep on developing and becoming more and more complex. There are organizations like WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) that are holding conversations to facilitate the Intellectual Property (IP) laws with the complex nature of artificial intelligence (AI). There is a noticeable demand for the formulation of Intellectual Property (IP) laws that can protect the products of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine innovation so technology can move forward.

Khurana and Khurana, Advocates and IP Attorneys

About the Firm

Khurana and Khurana, Advocates and IP Attorneys

AddressD-45, UPSIDC, Site IV, Kasna Road, Greater Noida - 201308, National Capital Region, India
Tel91-120-313 2513, 91-120-350 5740
Contact PersonTarun Khurana

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