Friday 25 January 2019

UNION-IP Roundtable: Smart IP, Munich 22 Feb 2019

The subject of artificial intelligence (AI) has been of interest for a long time, basically ever since computer technology was envisaged to eventually replicate what could previously only be done with the human mind. Along the way, various tasks that would previously require a human mind have been replicated by computer. Examples that are now considered mundane, or at least well known, but not so long ago would be beyond the capacity of computer technology, include optical character recognition, voice control, machine translation and computer vision for self-driving cars. These technologies are continually changing our working and home lives, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

There is a question as to whether any of this can really be considered AI at all, as there is no suggestion that a conscious computer such as HAL9000 is going to arrive any time soon. For the time being though, the term AI has been applied to many different areas of computer-implemented technology, and of course there is a question of how, or even whether, this technology can be patented and, if it can, what can be done about it.

To help answer this, and some other related questions, a "Round Table" event, which I will be attending, is to be held at the German Patent Office in Munich on 22 February 2019, organised by UNION-IP, titled "Smart IP - Applying intelligence to patenting, licensing and enforcing IP on new technology". This will include presentations from:

  • Georg Picht, University of Zurich, providing an introduction;
  • Hans Mertens, President of Software Commission of UNION-IP, on Protecting new technologies;
  • Georg Weber, Director in the ICT sector of DG1, European Patent Office, on Granting patents for new technologies;
  • Rene Allart, Senior IP Counsel (Digital Imaging), Philips, and Peter Hedman, Senior Patent Attorney, Ericsson (Device, Service and Media)on Creating and owning patents for new technologies;
  • Matthias Zigann, Presiding Judge, District Court Munich, on Procedural challenges and new dispute solutions;
  • Amedeo Santosuosso, President of IP Chamber, Milan Court of Appeal, on IP, AI and legal decision making;
  • Johann Pitz, VP IP Litigation Commission of UNION-IP, on Licensing in a digital world;
  • Christian Loyau, Legal Director, European Telecommunications Standards Institute, on Licensing for a digital communication world: structures and framework; and
  • Dominik Bauer, Senior Manager, Audi AG, on License options and injunctions.

The Round table is divided into three sessions. In the first, an overview of inventions made in different Industry 4.0 fields will be provided (such as smart objects, AI, IoT), with specific aspects of patent applications in new technologies in grant proceedings at the EPO discussed. From the industry perspective, we will hear about patenting strategy considerations, and approaches to obtaining and licensing valuable patents.

In the second session, presentations will address the issue of ownership of IP rights when the author is a learning machine, along with new parameters for infringement and validity assessment, and cross-border issues. Experienced judges will discuss procedural challenges, new dispute resolutions and decision making processes involving new technologies from the administrative and judicial perspective.

In the third session, licensing options and their legal framework in the field of new technologies will be discussed, and in particular the specific challenges ETSI is facing with the improvement of SEP declarations and their impact on FRAND negotiations. From an industry perspective we will hear about the applicability of equity principles in context with injunctions and respective license strategies.

Although there is a packed programme, there will be time during and after the sessions for questions and answers, and plenty of time for further discussion and networking in the lunch break afterwards.

The full programme, including registration details, can be found here, as well as via the UNION-IP website.

I hope to see you there!

More about HAL9000 here, more about why computers may, or may not, become conscious here and here.