New research project will examine ownership of AI inventions

Ozgur Arikan

The Faculty is delighted to announce that Ozgur Arikan has been awarded a Marie Sklodowska Curie Action (MSCA) Fellowship to study whether the status of slaves in Roman law can provide resolution for patent ownership issue of inventions autonomously generated by artificial intelligence systems. Ozgur is currently an Assistant Professor in IP Law at Boğaziçi University and completed his PhD in Law at the University of Manchester in 2015.

The rapid evolution of AI systems has created an environment where there is a lack of regulation around the rights to inventions created by AIs.  Who owns the right to claim a patent for something that has been invented by AIs?  Ozgur will use his knowledge of Roman Law and Patent Law to discover whether the legal status of Roman slaves can shed light on this debate.  As the AIs do not have a legal personality comparable to natural and legal persons, they can neither own nor transfer rights to claim patent for the inventions they created.  Are we at the stage where we need to give AI a legal status in order to overcome this regulatory void?

Most current research into AI regulation focuses on the liability of AIs. However, Ozgur’s research is from an IP right ownership perspective and he has found that, from recent cases, the law is deficient in regulating IP rights ownership of AI creations.

Ozgur is tackling this question from a unique angle. He has knowledge and expertise in both Roman Law and Patent Law which will allow him to research this question from both perspectives. He hopes his research will inform AI regulation and wants to expand on this subject in the future to examine authorship and copyright ownership issues of AI creations and what would happen if AI infringed the copyright or patent rights of a third party.

He will start his research in September 2023 and we look forward to welcoming him to the Faculty.

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