With the advent of the science and technology that underpin AI, we are experiencing a plethora of assertions, opinions and generalisations regarding the promise, challenges and threats embodied in this technology. Some point to the undeniable promise that it holds in automating various processes and procedures, saving valuable human resources and enhancing efficiency and accuracy. Some may refer to threats, either real or perceived, that may be lurking in the not too distant future should AI be allowed to become fully autonomous of human involvement. Yet others focus on the challenges that this technology may pose to our legal regime; acknowledging its enormous potential, while at the same time being mindful of the need to have a suitable legal regime in place in order to successfully accommodate such advancements and their repercussions.

The present event concerns the latter approach. Although intellectual property law is not necessarily the first port of call in considering a revision to our legal framework in an AI context (e.g. questions of liability for harms caused by AI come to mind), it is clearly of great interest. The concept of not mere automation but autonomous acts of creation and invention capture our imagination. Is it not time then to consider the prospect of AI creator or inventor, and the manner in which such AI is to be treated under our present IP legal regime?

One of the key questions in the context of patent law is that of inventorship, and relates to the patent applicant’s obligation to designate the inventor on the patent application. The present talk will address this issue at three separate levels. First, the technological ‘state of play’ will be briefly examined and the manner in which AI is being employed in inventive processes will be assessed. Patent law’s present capacity to accommodate AI inventors will then be considered and, consequently, the need and rationale for patent law’s revision.

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Each year the OIPRC hosts a number of leading academics from around the world as part of its Invited Speaker Series. These events typically run from 5:15-6:45pm on Thursday evenings in The Dorfman Centre at St. Peter’s College; if the venue or time is different, it will be noted on the Events calendar.  

The Speaker Series consists of a presentation of about 45 minutes, followed by a Q&A session with the assembled group of academic staff, students (both undergraduate and graduate), researchers, and interested members of the public.  Discussion is informal and includes participants from several disciplines, with a wide range of prior knowledge.

Convenors: Robert BurrellDev Gangjee and Robert Pitkethly

Refreshments and snacks are served at the conclusion of the discussion.  All are welcome.

Invited Speaker 2021 - 2022 schedule and Archive listing.

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Centre Contact: info@oiprc.ox.ac.uk