Author: Ajay Bagra, 5th- year law student, Institute of Law, Nirma University, Ahmedabad
Co-author: Richa Choudhary 5th Year student, Institute of Law, Nirma University, Ahmedabad
When we hear the terms Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), most of us divulge into the thought of a world which is ahead of its time often portrayed in the movies. However, most of those forecasts are turning into reality and transforming our views about the world in every possible manner. Researchers have claimed that by the year 2025, almost 80 billion devices will be connected via the internet, which will have an economic impact of 3.9 trillion to 11.1 trillion USD per year.
Meaning of IoT, AI and AIoT?
The term ‘IoT’ is used to describe the network of physical objects. In other words, “physical objects or things” that are embedded with sensors and communication technology used for connecting or data sharing with other devices or systems with the internet as a medium. The objects referred above can be as basic as our household items and as complex as heavy industrial tools.
In the year 1956, an American Computer Scientist named John Mccarthy coined the term ‘Artificial Intelligence’ (AI) and defined it as ‘the science and engineering of making intelligent machines’. The definition has been through several rounds of development in all these years and leads to the modern definition of AI ‘as a branch of computer science dealing with the simulation of intelligent behaviour in computers’.
When we look at IoT and AI as individual concepts, then they are powerful technologies. However, when we try to look at the convergence between them and connote a singular term to define them, i.e. Artificial Internet of Things (AIoT) then, the resultant would give us ‘the devices connected via the internet that can analyze data and make decisions and act on that data without involvement by humans’.
Importance of AI and IoT in Intellectual Property
The IoT alleviates the value of AI by permitting real-time signalling, connectivity and data exchange. AI empowers the strength of the IoT by enabling machine learning to advance decision-making process. For instance, AIoT can enable companies to gather all the relevant data involved in their processes and issues and develop accurate solutions for practical problems within the organization in order to improve efficiency, reliability and sustainability.
In a correlative market, one of the biggest assets of a company is its Intellectual Property. A resilient IP strategy and portfolio management allow the company to benefit the most out of its invention and also keep its market dominance. AI engines have the skill to develop subject matter which can be protected by IP. The modern AI technology has the potential to create various artworks, including the composition of literature, design or even develop a name for any brand. It is almost predictable that a robust AI machine could bring out new-age technologies and even create unique pharmaceutical drugs which may call for patent protection.[5
If we look apart from according IP protection to AI works or innovations, we may even consider a practical viewpoint from the side of a company which has applied for patent protection willing to get one single patent in several countries. A network of intelligent IoT devices, well-versed with the particular processes necessary to obtain IP protection in identified countries, will each assist the company efficiently attain their goal. Pressing on, a large number of items related to paperwork will be spawned, all of that in several different languages, each one with their own issues and prospects. All of such information would require manual assessment which could easily lead to errors in processing data and delay in the production of accurate results. In order to curb the aforementioned situation, any data assessment IoT device embedded with AI technology can be engaged in the process, as it will assess the all the relevant information and provide accurate results in no time.
Along with the benefits to companies wanting IP protection, the interface of AI and IoT is advantageous to IP professionals and Law firm by proficiently processing a huge chunk of data rapidly and accurately, in turn increasing the efficiency and accuracy of the task requiring the said data. For instance, it enables the professionals to focus more on the strategic role within the organization, producing insight from data to outline the future prospect of the company, at the same time parting the more humdrum aspects of IP supervision to machines.
IP and Data Ownership Concerns
If an AI machine devises a trademark, then it is highly improbable to have consequences on trademark ownership, but then for other types of IP protection, the ownership of AI-generated matter is a controversial subject. As the first owner of an original work safeguarded by copyright is usually the ‘author’, or someone who produced the work. Similarly, the ownership of any article holding design protection is with the owner of such design and the principal owner of a patent product is the person who invented that product. In all the aforementioned cases, the ownership of IP has a direct relation with the creation of the subject matter which may or may not is created by any AIoT device. A pertinent question comes up as to, ‘Whether the creation of subject matter would entitle the AI engine as the First Owner of such IP’?
If an AI device is allowed to own the IP, it will have consequences in the area of enforcement and violation of IP rights. Although, an IP can only be owned by someone having a legal personality which paves the way for a pertinent legal inquiry as to whether AI machines are capable of being a legal entity. For the time being, it is a very nascent stage to make deliberations on the issue of AI machines possessing rights equal to human beings, and it is improbable that we will witness laws recognizing the legal personality of AI devices in the impending future, but discussions on the similar issue will probably increase in the upcoming years.
Data Privacy and Security Concerns
In today’s world, IoT and AI devices that rely on collecting and analyzing enormous quantities of data are accelerating and becoming more riveting. Gradually, the collection of data will further increase and will be processed and transmitted across various platforms and IoT devices. There are concerns concerning the authority of using a third party personal data which could include exploitation of any IP protected information to train AI machines, with different approaches which are already leading to the plethora of security concerns and causing personal data violation. A well-suited example for unfair use of data could be targeted advertising. If security measures will not be employed to safeguard the data provided as a part of application for IP protection, whether deliberately or unexpectedly, will be subject to manipulation for financial gain, misuse and possibly even result in identity theft.
The use of IoT and AI being the future trend, companies are persistently trying to create an opportunity for them to maximize their profits from this homogenous and profitable market. Even if the IP laws are less obsolete, yet they lack the availability of specific legislations and principles which would contribute to smooth governance of IoT and AI technology. The protection of IP rights and coordination with the interface of IoT and AI technologies seems to be one of the major legal challenges in the world. Apart from this, an enormous amount of data processing and communication leads to various security and privacy threats such as identity theft, cyber-bullying, data manipulation etc. In order to prevent this is occurring, the companies will need to equip themselves with new technologies in data administering and its processing and take all the required security measures to safeguard the data users from any potential misuse. It would be remarkable to witness the approach of the legislature, government institutions and other firms in devising the laws and rules to ensure harmonious utilization of the AI and IoT technology.
Disclaimer: Kindly note that the views and opinions expressed are of the author, and not Law Colloquy.
 https://www.aathornton.com/the-challenges-of-artificial-intelligence-in-ip/  Supra Note 5.  https://news.bloomberglaw.com/ip-law/insight-intellectual-property-challenges-during-an-ai-boom