Intellectual Property's New Frontier: Artificial Intelligence as Author and Inventor



AI and people do not compete on a level-playing field. Self-driving vehicles may be safer than human drivers, but laws often penalize such technology. People may provide superior customer service, but businesses are automating to reduce their taxes. AI may innovate more effectively, but an antiquated legal framework constrains inventive AI. Ryan argues that the law should not discriminate between AI and human behavior and proposes a new legal principle of "AI Legal Neutrality" to ultimately improve human well-being. Among other things, in intellectual property law, AI Legal Neutrality means that we ought to provide intellectual property protection for the creative and inventive output of machines, even in the absence of traditional human authors and inventors, and even allow machines to be authors and inventors as a matter of law. Ryan is spearheading a series of legal test cases around the world seeking patent protection for AI-generated inventions and seeking to list the AI inventor as a patent inventor, with the AI's owner as the owner of any resultant patent rights.  


Ryan Abbott, MD, JD, MTOM, PhD, is Professor of Law and Health Sciences at the University of Surrey School of Law, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, partner at Brown, Neri, Smith & Khan, LLP, and a mediator and arbitrator with JAMS, Inc. He is the author of “The Reasonable Robot: Artificial Intelligence and the Law” published in 2020 by Cambridge University Press. He has published widely on issues associated with life sciences and intellectual property in leading legal, medical, and scientific books and journals, and his research has been featured prominently in the popular press including in The Times, the New York Times, the Financial Times, and other media outlets involving time. Professor Abbott has worked as an expert for, among others, the United Kingdom Parliament, the European Commission, the World Health Organization, and the World Intellectual Property Organization. He is a licensed physician and patent attorney in the United States, and a solicitor advocate in England and Wales. Managing Intellectual Property magazine named him as one of the fifty most influential people in intellectual property in 2019 and again in 2021.

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