Monday, May 29, 2023

A WIPO Professor Rama Rao asked: Can an artificial intelligence product claim Patent? 

Banner photo write up:Dean of Law, Prof Sridhar showing the new Library to Prof S Rama Rao at Mahindra Univeresity

An expert IPR international Professor Dr S Rama Rao asked a question. An invention generated autonomously by an artificial intelligence (AI), which comes up with many inventions like a natural person? Under certain circumstances like a natural person, as traditionally defined, qualifies as an inventor?  These applications list the AI as the inventor and the AI’s owner as the patent applicant and the prospective owner of any issued patents?

These are the extra-ordinary questions posed by Professor Dr. S Rama Rao, former Microsoft Chair Professor of Intellectual Property and ex-director of World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) at United Nations to first- and second-year students of  

School of Law, Mahindra University in Hyderabad. Dean of School of Law, Dr Madabhushi Sridhar Acharyulu, former MHRD Professor Chairperson of IPR. The event titled “Crossroads of IPR Laws with Technology” was packed with students and faculty of law, lawyers and engineer professors.  It was the event organized on this IPO day on 25th April 2023.

Before talking about it, he introduced the term ‘No man’s land’- Res Nullius, and said that the land or any creative object created by a person with his intellectual thoughts, which is not Res Nullius, shall have patents on the creator’s name. Referring to Article 27 para 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Dr Rao defined Intellectual Property as a scientific, original and creative work arising from the creation of a person’s mind.

Dr. S. Rama Rao is a renowned academician with a wealth of knowledge in the matters of Intellectual Property Law and has published numerous research papers in matters relating to the same. He provided an overview of the multiple forms of intellectual property rights and elaborated on their significance as exclusive rights bestowed upon creators. He emphasized that these rights are intangible in nature. Further, he delved into the different types of intellectual property rights falling under the purview of industrial intellectual property rights, including patents, trademarks, and industrial designs. Dr. Rao also stressed the crucial aspects of novelty, utility, and inventive steps in the context of intellectual property rights.  Patents have wide importance in the film industry, as filmmaking involves creativity in every aspect. Patents are given for inventions and innovations which were differentiated by Dr Rao as he puts up that invention is a mere creation that rises out of a person’s thoughts, and the thoughts pose novelty while innovation includes publishing this creative work as an asset in the market.

Dr Rama Rao also elaborated on trademarks as a type of intellectual property giving different identification signs for various products published by an entity. He explained that trademarks are not assigned to certain soft skills like Hatha Yoga, Ayurveda, etc.

According to the WIPO, the growth of trade has been estimated, with the global GDP increasing to the trade asset value of 110 trillion dollars, and the intellectual asset reaching 53 trillion dollars worldwide. Apart from specifying the usage of trademarks, Dr Rao proposed the installation of an Intellectual Property Office on the campus, similar to those installed in many universities, including the IIMs. An Intellectual Property Office is a unit where all creative works published on the campus are safeguarded from being plagiarized by any other person or program without mentioning the source from which the information has been taken.

Intellectual Property Expert, Dr Rama Rao, interacted with Law Students who concluded saying intellectual leaders are born. Dr. Rao suggested the implementation of Intellectual Property Rights within the university to facilitate the patenting of works created by students and faculty members. The informative nature of the session proved beneficial to the university’s student body, providing them with a comprehensive understanding of IPR and its significance. Overall, the session was deemed highly informative, imparting valuable insights to its attendees. The guest lecture on Intellectual Property Rights delivered by Dr. Rao was truly insightful and engaging. The session offered an in-depth understanding of IPR, its significance, and the different forms of intellectual property rights. Dr. Rao’s expertise and experience in the field shone through, providing attendees with a valuable learning opportunity. The lecture was a great addition to the college’s academic programme and provided attendees with invaluable knowledge that can be applied both academically and professionally.

Prof. M. Sridhar Acharyulu
Prof. M. Sridhar Acharyulu
Author is Dean, Professor of law at Mahindra University at Hyderabad and former Central Information Commissioner. He published a number books in English and Telugu.

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