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By Richard Gearhart
Founding Partner

Artificial Intelligence software is commonly referred to as AI. The landscape of AI software patent law is rapidly evolving, presenting unique challenges and opportunities for innovators. As artificial intelligence continues to advance, understanding how it intersects with patent law becomes crucial. This field is not only about securing rights for groundbreaking technology but also about navigating the nuanced legal frameworks that govern intellectual property in the digital age. The intersection of AI and patent law is a dynamic area, constantly shaped by technological advancements and legal precedents.

Understanding AI and Patent Eligibility

In the realm of patent law, AI is recognized as a complex blend of algorithms, machine learning, and data processing technologies. For AI software to be eligible for a patent, it must meet specific legal criteria. Primarily, the invention should be novel, meaning it must offer a new technological solution or improvement. Additionally, it should exhibit an inventive step, demonstrating that it’s not an obvious development to someone with knowledge and experience in the field. Understanding these criteria is pivotal for innovators in AI. They must clearly demonstrate how their AI software solves a specific problem in a non-obvious way, thereby fulfilling the requirements for patent eligibility. This process ensures that only genuinely innovative AI technologies gain legal protection under patent law.

Key Challenges in AI Software Patenting

One of the key challenges in AI software patenting lies in defining and proving the novelty and non-obviousness of the AI invention. Given the rapid evolution and widespread application of AI technologies, distinguishing a new AI invention from existing ones can be complex. Furthermore, articulating the inventive step in AI, which often involves intricate algorithms and data processing techniques, requires a deep understanding of both the technology and patent law. Another significant hurdle is the issue of patent scope and claims. AI inventions, being inherently versatile and adaptable, may pose difficulties in clearly defining the boundaries of the patent claim. These challenges necessitate a careful and strategic approach to patent application preparation, ensuring that all legal and technical aspects are thoroughly addressed.

Strategies for Successful AI Patent Applications

To enhance the success of AI software patent applications, a strategic approach is essential. First and foremost, it’s crucial to maintain detailed documentation of the development process. This includes recording each step of the AI algorithm’s creation and the unique problem it addresses. Clarity and precision in drafting the patent application are key; the application should explicitly outline how the AI invention is novel and non-obvious. It’s also important to define the scope of the patent broadly enough to cover potential future developments while being specific enough to highlight the innovation. Engaging with a patent attorney experienced in AI technology can provide invaluable insight into tailoring the application to meet the stringent requirements of patent offices, thereby significantly increasing the chances of a successful outcome.

Protecting Your AI Software Beyond Patenting

Beyond patenting, protecting AI software involves a multifaceted approach. Copyrights can safeguard the original expression in the software’s code, offering an additional layer of protection that complements patents. Moreover, trade secrets can be vital, especially for aspects of AI that are kept confidential within a company, such as proprietary algorithms or data sets. These trade secrets require robust internal security measures to maintain their confidentiality. By employing a combination of these legal tools, innovators can create a comprehensive protection strategy for their AI software, ensuring that their intellectual property is fully safeguarded against infringement and unauthorized use.

Contact an Experienced AI Software Patent Attorney

Partnering with an experienced patent attorney is key to navigating the complex terrain of AI software patenting. At Gearhart Law, our team is well-versed in the intricacies of intellectual property law, particularly in the AI sector. We’re committed to guiding you through each step, ensuring your innovation is protected. Contact Gearhart Law today for personalized support and effective patent strategy planning.

About the Author
Richard Gearhart, Esq. is the founder of Gearhart Law and the host of a weekly radio show for entrepreneurs called “Passage to Profit”. He has built a firm with an international presence that helps entrepreneurs from around the world with their patent, trademark and copyright needs. Richard commands a breadth of experience that comes from nearly 30 years of practice in the writing and prosecution of hundreds of patents, and in all aspects of Intellectual Property law. In 2022, Richard was recognized by ROI New Jersey as a 2022 ROI Influencer in the Law List category for being one of the best of the best in New Jersey for intellectual property law. Gearhart Law emerged from Richard’s passion for entrepreneurship and startups and his belief that entrepreneurship grows the economy and creates jobs. When we started Gearhart Law, our goal was to help and support the new business ventures of 500 entrepreneurs and inventors. After 12 years, the firm has far surpassed this goal; today, we look forward to helping even more inventors and entrepreneurs get off to a great start and reach their own goals.