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What to Expect in the Future of AI and Technology Patents

The Fourth Industrial Revolution took off faster than anyone anticipated. Over the past decade, the amount of technology incorporated into personal devices, motor vehicles, the workplace, and residential housing exceeded everyone’s expectations. As of just a few years ago, the European Patent Office reported more than 5,000 pending applications for autonomous objects alone; that was a 54% increase over patent applications in just three years. It’s a sign of things to come, and inventors eager to bring their ideas to market are getting caught up in the red tape and rigmarole that slows them down.

The Growth of AI and Technology Patents

Analysts estimate that within just the next five years, there will be between 26 and 30 billion devices in homes and offices fitted with sensors, software, and microprocessors. These, and many other devices, have one purpose; to bring AI to the masses and connect society in ways that only a few short years ago were science fiction. Developments in core technologies, enabling technologies, and application domains are occurring at exponential rates. Current estimates are likely significantly lower than what the reality will be when 2025 rolls into view. That’s because those leading the charge are well-funded. They have amassed considerable talent to bring these technological developments to life.

Current regulations divide AI into new and improved AI techniques, and applications for known AI techniques. While durable, these distinctions are not all-encompassing. One of the most significant problems is that current rules don’t allow for the patenting of algorithms. Patenting these devices poses a considerable challenge, as AI systems are built around algorithms that drive their functions. Without the ability to patent the algorithm itself, inventors and innovators have to seek novel and creative ways to apply technology patents to their designs.

Further, one of the most challenging frustrations is that AI is fluid and flexible. This means that by the time the patent is approved, the algorithm has evolved into a completely new product that may, or may not, resemble the product for which that patent was filed. This is creating a situation where technology patents for AI are becoming difficult to impossible to clear.

The Future of AI Patents

Artificial Intelligence is evolving at a rapid pace. It is a pace that will increase several times over as AI becomes faster, more efficient, and more effective at delivering the capabilities that business and the public are growing to depend. In Mid-January, the IP5 Task Force on New Emerging Technologies and Artificial Intelligence held their latest meeting. The task force, formed last June, is exploring ways to streamline the patent application and grant processes, as well as identifying ways to alter the patentability requirements for AI. There is a critical need to address these issues as Google, Amazon, N-iX, Rapidminer, Waverly Sofware and many others charge forward at a speed that patent offices around the world can’t match under current protocols.

The work of the IP5 Task Force will shape the future of AI patents, and the group is facing mounting pressure to develop feasible solutions that meet the needs of businesses while protecting the rights of patent holders. Taskforce members have set a June deadline to identify and outline a practical solution that would apply to AI and other technology patents.

Contact Global Patent Solutions at (877) 299-7678 for more information about technology patents and what we see happening in the future of AI patents. Our analysts will answer your questions and help you identify the strategic options available for your company to move forward with your ideas.