Research Handbook on Intellectual Property and Digital Technologies
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Research Handbook on Intellectual Property and Digital Technologies

Edited by Tanya Aplin

This Handbook provides a scholarly and comprehensive account of the multiple converging challenges that digital technologies present for intellectual property (IP) rights, from the perspectives of international, EU and US law. Despite the fast-moving nature of digital technology, this Handbook provides profound reflections on the underlying normative legal dilemmas, identifying future problems and suggesting how digital IP issues should be dealt with in the future.
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Chapter 15: Artificial intelligence, big data and intellectual property: protecting computer generated works in the United Kingdom

Ryan Abbott


Big data and its use by artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the way intellectual property is developed and granted. For decades, machines have been autonomously generating works which have traditionally been eligible for copyright and patent protection. Now, the growing sophistication of AI and the prevalence of big data is positioned to transform computer generated works (CGWs) into major contributors to the creative and inventive economies. However, intellectual property law is poorly prepared for this eventuality. The UK is one of the few nations, and perhaps the only EU member state, to explicitly provide copyright protection for CGWs. It is silent on patent protection for CGWs. The chapter makes several contributions to the literature. First, it provides an up to date review of UK, EU and international law. Second, it argues that patentability of CGWs is a matter of first impression in the UK, but that CGWs should be eligible for patent protection as a matter of policy. Finally, it argues that the definition of CGWs should be amended to reflect the fact that a computer can be an author or inventor in a joint work with a person.

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