IP ready in AI future

On a more practical level, being AI-ready is essential for IPOPHL to provide efficient and quality IP services to our people

Artificial Intelligence or AI has become more prevalent today, thanks to the acceleration of the world’s digitalization during the pandemic.

But even before the arrival of Covid-19 in 2020, the use of AI technology was already in full force, from banks using chatbots to answer inquiries from customers to entertainment platforms like Spotify and Netflix providing more personalized recommendations to users.

With the use of AI spreading far and wide in 2023, some have raised concerns about how this is being used, especially about intellectual property or IP.

For example, researchers developed AI art generators in 2022 that create artwork using prompts given by users of the software. AI art generators, however, use datasets — or a collection of data — taken from the artworks of human artists posted online to create their own artworks.

Because AI uses this type of artwork as a “source” of inspiration to learn and create AI art that is almost similar to the original — to the point that even the artist’s signature can be imperfectly included — this raises the question of whether the copyright of human artists is being infringed upon.

There are other concerns over AI, ranging from privacy and surveillance to bias and discrimination, as well as the role of human judgement in an AI future. But in response to the IP-related aspects of these technological global developments, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines or IPOPHL is already preparing to adapt to the effects of these advances.

I’d like to point out that the role of IP Offices has remarkably changed in the post-pandemic era. In the case of the IPOPHL, we’ve transcended from being mere regulators of IP and embraced a more developmental role as enablers of small businesses, industries, youth, community and the academe.

In this post-pandemic period, we are now more sensitive and responsive to the plight of our stakeholders, most of whom are still recovering from the economic challenges brought about by the community quarantine lockdowns.

This also includes ensuring that the Philippine IP system continues to be responsive to the global demands of the IP system, that is, making our policies and practices aligned and relevant to these developments.

Even as we’ve proposed amendments to the IP Code to make sure that the legal framework remains responsive and relevant institutionally, we’ve formulated in 2018 our patent examination practices for biotechnology and computer-related inventions — including AI and blockchains. These are presently being reviewed for updates.

The motivations behind these initiatives to address new technologies like AI can be understood in several ways.

First, there’s a need for legal and administrative policies to be outward and forward-looking — especially for IPOPHL, where 90 percent of patent filings are attributed to foreign applicants — to anticipate the trends and initiate changes or adjustments accordingly.

Second, we need to ensure organizational readiness to handle applications and matters relating to advanced technologies. These apply both at the protection and enforcement levels.

This institutional capacity is only made possible through an appropriately structured capacity-building program for our examiners, lawyers, and staff in examining applications and in addressing IP violations, whether in adjudication or enforcement activities. Furthermore, we need to ensure that our infrastructure is in place to accept and accommodate these applications.

On a more practical level, being AI-ready is essential for IPOPHL to provide efficient and quality IP services to our people. For example, IPOPHL began utilizing in 2021 the Business Intelligence v2.0 Online platform, which incorporates cutting-edge machine learning/AI and advanced analytics features into the existing Big Data Infrastructure of IP information collected from over 50 years.

Because of this, IPOPHL jumped to 9th place in the World Trademark Review 2021 IP Office Innovation Ranking from 24th in the previous year in recognition of our adoption of further innovation to ensure the delivery of quality public service despite the pandemic.

Taken altogether, IPOPHL is well-prepared to address any, and all possible IP concerns as the use of AI and other groundbreaking technologies grows. This ensures innovation and creativity that would push the nation’s economic and social development are not stifled, the country remains competitive amidst the ongoing global digital revolution, and our people’s IP rights remain fully protected in this bright new future.

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