A key priority of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is to maintain United States leadership in innovation, especially in emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI). To further this goal, the USPTO has been actively engaging withthe innovation community and experts in AI to promote the understanding and reliability of intellectual property (IP) rights in relation to AI technology. Additionally, the USPTO is working to ensure that appropriate IP incentives are in place to encourage further innovation in and around this critical area. To this end, in January 2019, the USPTO held an AI IP policy conference, one of the first of its kind. The conference featured IP specialists from around the world and included panel discussions on patents, trade secrets, copyrights, trademarks IP enforcement, global perspectives and the economics of IP protection of AI.
Building on the momentum of those discussions, on August 27, 2019, the USPTO issued a request for comments (RFC) on patenting AI inventions. The RFC sought feedback from our stakeholders on a variety of patent policy issues, such as AI’s impact on inventorship and ownership, eligibility, disclosure, and the level of ordinary skill in the art. The comment period closed on November 8, 2019. The USPTO received 99 comments from a wide range of stakeholders, including individuals, associations, corporations, and foreign IP offices.