Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

Category Archives: Patent and Trademark

This Tiny Website Is Google’s First Line of Defense in the Patent Wars

Wired: “TDCommons is a free space for inventors to lay claim to breakthroughs without having to file a patent. Why is it so off the radar? A trio of Google engineers recently came up with a futuristic way to help anyone who stumbles through presentations on video calls. They propose that when algorithms detect a speaker’s pulse racing or “umms” lengthening, a generative AI bot that mimics their voice could simply take over. That cutting-edge idea wasn’t revealed at a big company event or in an academic journal. Instead, it appeared in a 1,500-word post on a little-known, free website called TDCommons.org that Google has quietly owned and funded for nine years. Until WIRED received a link to an idea on TDCommons last year and got curious, Google had never spoken with the media about its website. Scrolling through TDCommons, you can read Google’s latest ideas for coordinating smart home gadgets for better sleep, preserving privacy in mobile search results, and using AI to summarize a person’s activities from their photo archives. And the submissions aren’t exclusive to Google; about 150 organizations, including HP, Cisco, and Visa, also have posted inventions to the website. The website is a home for ideas that seem potentially valuable but not worth spending tens of thousands of dollars seeking a patent for. By publishing the technical details and establishing “prior art,” Google and other companies can head off future disputes by blocking others from filing patents for similar concepts. Google gives employees a $1,000 bonus for each invention they post to TDCommons—a tenth of what it awards its patent seekers—but they also get an immediately shareable link to gloat about otherwise secretive work. TDCommons adds to Google’s long-standing, and far more vocal, efforts to carve out greater space for freewheeling innovation in an industry where patents can be used to hobble or extract cash from competitors. The site may be dowdy and obscure, but it does the trick. “The beauty of defensive publications is that this website can be pretty simple,” says Laura Sheridan, Google’s head of patent policy. “It needs to establish a date. And it needs to have documents be accessible. There’s not much more we need to do.” In reality, the experiment has struggled to cut through government bureaucracy and overcome competition from more robust archives. Sheridan acknowledges it’s a work in progress. TDCommons needs a bigger flow of uploads to become less peculiar and more vital. It offers a unique hope of expanding public access to the technical creativity happening inside corporate walls—and shifting more resources toward that work.”

US patent office confirms AI can’t hold patents

The Verge: “The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) maintains that artificial intelligence systems cannot be named inventors, but humans can use AI tools in the process of creating patented inventions and must disclose if they do. The agency published its latest guidance following a series of “listening” tours to gather public feedback. It states… Continue Reading

When authoritative sources hold onto bad data

NextGov – A legal scholar explains the need for government databases to retract information: “In 2004, Hwang Woo-suk was celebrated for his breakthrough discovery creating cloned human embryos, and his work was published in the prestigious journal Science. But the discovery was too good to be true; Dr. Hwang had fabricated the data. Science publicly… Continue Reading

USPTO new cloud-based trademark search system with basic and advanced search options

“As we recently noted, we are improving our search tools frequently used by patent and trademark filers and web visitors to provide a more multi-faceted, reliable search experience. To that end, we are excited to announce the launch of the beta version of our new trademark search system.    This new, cloud-based search system will replace… Continue Reading

AI Litigation Database

“This database presents information about ongoing and completed litigation involving artificial intelligence, including machine learning. It covers cases from complaint forward – as soon as we learn of them – whether or not they generate published decisions. It is intended to be broad in scope, covering everything from algorithms used in hiring and credit and… Continue Reading

Video Game Law

Lemley, Mark A. and Maitra, Sonali, Video Game Law (June 1, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4466453 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4466453 “This is the complete text of Video Game Law: An Open Access Casebook, the first law school casebook to cover video game law. It includes chapters on the history of video games, copyright, patents, trademarks, the right… Continue Reading

Standards and the Law

Coglianese, Cary, Standards and the Law (May 13, 2023). Standardization: Journal of Research and Innovation, Vol. 2, no. 2, p. 15, 2023, U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 23-18, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4452726 “The world of standards and the world of laws are often seen as separate, but they are more… Continue Reading

We build digital tools to accelerate scientific research

The Macrocosm Consortium: “This group is part of an experiment in building digital projects with specific focus on civilizational scale. We’re made up of a group of young people who enjoy tinkering on projects with high potential and immediate impact. It’s easier than it’s ever been to build incredible things. The insane productivity that’s being… Continue Reading

The Rapid Rise of Generative AI Threatens to Upend US Patent System

FT.com ($) – “As issues about artificial intelligence make their way through the US patent system, greater disclosure about its use may lead to questions about how ideas are formed that are not considered under existing patent rules, warns Dr. Michael Sartori…When members of the US supreme court refused this week to hear a groundbreaking… Continue Reading

Inside the secret list of websites that make AI like ChatGPT sound smart

Washington Post: “AI chatbots have exploded in popularity over the past four months, stunning the public with their awesome abilities, from writing sophisticated term papers to holding unnervingly lucid conversations. Chatbots cannot think like humans: They do not actually understand what they say. They can mimic human speech because the artificial intelligence that powers them… Continue Reading

How We Think About Copyright and AI Art

EFF: “Artists are understandably concerned about the possibility that automatic image generators like Stable Diffusion will undercut the market for their work. We live in a society that does not support people who are automated out of a job, and being a visual artist is an already precarious career. In this context, it’s natural to… Continue Reading

Generative Artificial Intelligence and Copyright Law

CRS Legal Sidebar – Generative Artificial Intelligence and Copyright Law. February 24, 2023: “Recent innovations in artificial intelligence (AI) are raising new questions about how copyright law  principles such as authorship, infringement, and fair use will apply to content created or used by AI. So-called “generative AI” computer programs—such as Open AI’s DALL-E 2 and… Continue Reading