News and Analysis of Artificial Intelligence Technology Legal Issues
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Recent Court Decisions Boost the Outlook for Artificial Intelligence Patents

Machine learning enthusiasts have long touted the technology’s ability to perform–and sometimes exceed–human mental endeavors, such as identifying objects in images, generating a portrait painting, deciding to grant a loan application, optimizing a route to a destination, and efficiently responding to website visitor or customer queries. In recent years, such computerized “mental processes” have been denied patent protection, a trend underscored by U.S. federal district and Federal Circuit patent decisions issued in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s seminal Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l opinion in 2014, which provided today’s legal framework for determining whether an invention is…

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The Role of Explainable Artificial Intelligence in Patent Law

Although the notion of “explainable artificial intelligence” (AI) has been suggested as a necessary component of governing AI technology, at least for the reason that transparency leads to trust and better management of AI systems in the wild, one area of US law already places a burden on AI developers and producers to explain how their AI technology works: patent law.  Patent law’s focus on how AI systems work was not borne from a Congressional mandate. Rather, the Supreme Court gets all the credit–or blame, as some might contend–for this legal development, which began with the Court’s 2014 decision in Alice…

Patenting Artificial Intelligence: Innovation Spike Follows Broader Market Trend

If you received a US patent for a machine learning invention recently, count yourself among a record number of innovators named on artificial intelligence technology patents issued in 2017. There’s also good chance you worked for one of the top companies earning patents for machine learning, neural network, and other AI technologies, namely IBM, Amazon, Cisco, Google, and Microsoft, according to public patent records (available through mid-December). This year’s increase in the number of issued patents reflects similar record increases in the level of investment dollars flowing to AI start-ups and the number of AI tech sector M&A deals in…

Federal Circuit: AI, IoT, and Robotics in “Danger” Due to Uncertainty Surrounding Patent Abstraction Test

In Purepredictive, Inc. v. H2O.ai, Inc., the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (J. Orrick) granted Mountain View-based H2O.ai’s motion to dismiss a patent infringement complaint. In doing so, the court found that the claims of asserted U.S. patent 8,880,446 were invalid on the grounds that they “are directed to the abstract concept of the manipulation of mathematical functions and make use of computers only as tools, rather than provide a specific improvement on a computer-related technology.” Decisions like this hardly make news these days, what with the frequency by which software patents are being invalidated by…