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Advanced Introduction to Law and Artificial Intelligence

Woodrow Barfield Ugo Pagallo

Woodrow Barfield and Ugo Pagallo present a succinct introduction to the legal issues related to the design and use of artificial intelligence (AI). Exploring human rights, constitutional law, data protection, criminal law, tort law, and intellectual property law, they consider the laws of a number of jurisdictions including the US, the European Union, Japan, and China, making reference to case law and statutes.
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Patent law

Woodrow Barfield Ugo Pagallo


a timely and important topic for a discussion of law and AI.1 While many patents claim the use of AI for a variety of applications, the role of AI in the role of inventor has also raised important questions which need to be addressed. For example, who should be awarded the patent rights to inventions based on AI, and more generally, how should patent law change in response to developments in AI? While the process of patenting AI techniques (such as algorithms and neural nets) is discussed in this chapter, the main focus of the chapter is on challenges posed to patent law when AI serves as an inventor.

Legal scholars and patent offices around the world are beginning to focus on the role of patent law for AI-based inventions.2 For example, in the US, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) hosted an event in 2019 entitled “Artificial Intelligence: Intellectual Property Policy Considerations”3 in which it posed several questions to the AI academic and industrial community on AI challenges to current patent law. The USPTO’s Request for Comments included the following questions which are also of interest to other patent offices and generally to the law as applied to patents:

The above questions raise important issues associated with patent law and AI, some of which we discuss in the following sections of this chapter; in doing so, it is necessary to review the basic patent process.6 Details on patentability in the US can...

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