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About CBLT

Centre for Business Laws and Taxation, RGNUL has been established with a view to promote interdisciplinary research on Business Laws and Taxation. The Centre aims to engage in diverse activities including, but not limited to, organizing Webinars, Conferences, Workshops, and Moot Court Competitions; initiating credit and non-credit Courses; publishing Newsletters and Blog Series; engaging in meaningful research on business laws and taxation etc. The Centre would also indulge in formulating policies in a prescriptive sense and providing internships to various students of law in the field of research and development. For this purpose, the Centre aims to collaborate with other stakeholders and institutions for continuous growth in the field of business laws and taxation. Centre aims to encourage multi-disciplinary study in the field of Business Law including, but not limited to, General Corporate Governance, Banking Law, Company Law, Securities Law, Intellectual Property Laws, Taxation Law, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Laws, Competitions Laws, Mergers and Acquisitions and Dispute Resolution. The Centre aims to establish an effective venue for discussion and dialogue on contemporary issues in Business law and Taxation to generate awareness and facilitate research in this field.

About the Conference

The ability of the machine to analyze like a human brain, think, perceive, decide and solve problems, termed as artificial intelligence (AI), is increasingly used for strategizing and decision making. From fictional reality to virtual reality, AI has made rapid strides AI has made its mark in myriad ways. Advancements in data collection, processing and computational power have propelled AI systems which can be deployed in multifarious disciplines for performing myriad tasks viz., robotic surgeries,  voice recognition software, use of robots for service provision, chatbots for customer care, language translation, drone and AI led warfare, facial recognition tools, autonomous vehicles using automatic driving sensors etc. AI, propelled by data, is increasingly employed in day-to-day activities. The advancements in AI and its adoption can be judged from the fact that the humanoid robot Sophia was granted full citizenship by Saudi Arabia. AI, thus, has the potential to have a positive impact on various sectors like healthcare, the legal profession, education, agriculture, smart and efficient energy, transportation etc. However, the technology is still at the nascent stage and deployment of AI is confronted with multiple hindrances like lack of efficient ecosystem for working of the technology, lack of expertise, high cost and lack of legal regulation of AI. Furthermore, AI has posed several serious challenges, including but not limited to, data privacy and data protection; malicious use of AI; use of lethal autonomous weapon systems; ethics and AI; liability regime for AI, issues relating to Intellectual Property Rights etc. In this backdrop, law can-not remain aloof from such technological advancements. Therefore, countries across the globe are considering legal regimes for the regulation of AI. Many countries have enacted or are in the process of enacting laws for the regulation of various aspects of AI viz. data protection and data privacy, autonomous vehicles, facial recognition etc. However, none of the countries across the globe has been able to delineate the liability regime for AI. Keeping in view the adoption of AI in various sectors and its huge potential, governments of all countries are making efforts to adopt a policy framework for regulating the use of AI. In this backdrop, the Government of India mandated NITI Aayog to formulate National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence.

Themes of the Conference

  • AI and Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems: International Humanitarian Law Perspectives

  • Big Data and its regulation

  • AI, Healthcare and Legal Liability

  • AI, Data Privacy, Data Protection and Law

  • AI systems for Legal Professionals AI in Education

  • XAI and Law

  • AI, Forensic Criminalistics and Criminal Justice System  

  • AI and Jurisdictional Issues  

  • AI and IPRs 

Abstract / Proposal Submission: 10 September 2022

Acceptance / Rejection Notification: 20 September 2022  

Last date of Registration: 30 September 2022  

Full Paper Submission: 25 October 2022  

Date of the Event: November 11-12, 2022

Paper Submission Guidelines 

  • The research papers should pertain to any of the sub-themes of the conference.

  • Participants shall be required to submit an abstract of around 350 words on or before 10th September 2022.

  • The abstract shall also contain the name and email id of the author/s, contact number and designation.

  • Acceptance of abstract will be communicated within 15 days after submission. The payment link will be shared separately if the abstract is selected.

  • The full paper should not exceed 6000 words. It shall be typed in Times New Roman, Font Size 12 on A4 size paper with 1” margin on all sides with 1.5 line ª spacing using MS Word.

  • Abstract and Research Papers should be emailed to cbltevents@rgnul.ac.in

  • Citations shall be strictly in accordance with the Bluebook (20th Edition).

  • University may publish accepted papers. Publication of papers shall be the exclusive discretion of the University.

Registration Fees:

  • Students and Researchers: INR 800

  • Academicians: INR 1000

  • Co-authors: INR 1500 (A maximum of 2 authors are permitted per paper)

  • Conference Participation Fee: INR 500  

For queries, please contact the undersigned.

Avishikta Chattopadhyay (+91) 9800960982

Yashvi Jain(+91) 9079274403

For more details: Brochure

Case BriefsHigh Court Round UpLegal RoundUp

The most important and eye-catching legal stories of the year 2021. Dive your way through these pertinent decisions into 2022.


Legal Trajectory | DABUS and Artificial Intelligence System an Inventor or not?

Artificial Intelligence Machine, can it be granted a patent for its own invention? Demystifying grant of patent to Artificial Intelligence Machine

Marcus SmithJ. explained exhaustively whether an ‘Artificial Intelligence Machine’ DABUS can be categorized as an inventor and granted patent or not.

“merely inventing something does not result in a patent being granted to the inventor.”

Read Full Report…

Here’s how DABUS an Artificial Intelligence System was given status of an “Inventor” | Federal Court of Australia’s exhaustive decision on whether a non-human can be named as an inventor

While addressing the question of whether Artificial Intelligence Systems can be an inventor for the purposes of the Patent Act 1990 (Cth), Beach J, expressed that:

If the output of an artificial intelligence system is said to be the invention, who is the inventor? And if a human is required, who? The programmer? The owner? The operator? The trainer? The person who provided input data? All of the above? None of the above? In my view, in some cases it may be none of the above. In some cases, the better analysis, which is consistent with the s 2A object, is to say that the system itself is the inventor. That would reflect the reality. And you would avoid otherwise uncertainty. And indeed that may be the case if the unit embodying the artificial intelligence has its own autonomy. What if it is free to trawl the internet to obtain its own input or training data? What about a robot operating independently in a public space, having its own senses, learning from the environment, and making its own decisions? And what about the more exotic, such as a mobile unit on Mars left to its own devices and not seeking instructions from Earth?

Read Full Report…

Everything you need to know on why AI Machine can’t be “Inventor”: US District Court rules AI still to reach sophistication to satisfy meaning of inventorship

Leonie M Brinkema, J., observed that,

Congress’s use of the term “individual” in the Patent Act strengthens the conclusion that an “inventor” must be a natural person.

“As technology evolves, there may come a time when artificial intelligence reaches a level of sophistication such that it might satisfy accepted meanings of inventorship. But that time has not yet arrived, and, if it does, it will be up to Congress to decide how, if at all, it wants to expand the scope of patent law.”

Read Full Report…

Pakistan High Court and Lahore High Court on Virginity Tests

“Virginity tests are invasive, offensive, and discriminatory and blatantly violate the dignity of a woman” – Justice Ayesha A. Malik || Detailed Report

While deliberating upon the writ petitions challenging the use and conduct of ‘virginity tests’ especially “Two-finger Test” and “Hymen Examination” in cases of rape and sexual abuse, Ayesha A. Malik, J., held that the virginity tests, carried out for the purposes of ascertaining the virginity of female rape or sexual abuse victim, is unscientific and has no medical basis, therefore it is of no forensic value in cases of sexual violence. It was further held that the virginity tests offend the personal dignity of the female victim and therefore is against the right to life and right to dignity enshrined in Articles 9 and 14 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973.

Read Full Report…

Pak SC comes down heavily on virginity tests. Holds that dragging sexual history of the rape survivor in a case, by making observations about her body, is unconstitutional

 In a significant decision, the 3 Judge Bench of the Court comprising of Manzoor Ahmad Malik, Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel and Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, JJ., while deliberating upon issues revolving around the scientific veracity of virginity tests to ascertain rape and questioning a woman’s sexual history in order to discredit her witness; held that a woman irrespective of her sexual character or reputation, is entitled to equal protection of law. The courts should discontinue the use of painfully intrusive and inappropriate expressions, like “habituated to sex”, “woman of easy virtue”, “woman of loose moral character”, and “non-virgin”, for the alleged rape victims even if they find that the charge of rape is not proved against the accused. Such expressions are unconstitutional and illegal.

Read Full Report…

 Apple: Operating an Illegal Monopoly?

 Apple: A monopolist under Federal or State Law? A win for Epic or Apple? Read to know

While issuing a permanent injunction, stating Apple could no longer prohibit developers linking to their own purchasing mechanisms, Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, J., held that Epic Games failed to show how Apple Inc. was operating an illegal monopoly.

Read Full Report…

Snapchat post fiasco

 “America’s public schools are nurseries of democracy”- SCOTUS rules in favour of student suspended for her off-campus improper Snapchat posts criticising the school

The Court by an overwhelming majority of 8:1 held that a student’s suspension from school’s cheerleading squad because of her off-campus Snapchat posts expressing her frustration with the school, violates such student’s Freedom of Speech and Expression as enshrined within the First Amendment. The Court observed that while public schools may have a special interest in regulating some off-campus student speech, the special interests offered by the Mahanoy Area High School are not sufficient to overcome B.L.’s interest in free expression in this case. The majority consisted of John Roberts, CJ., Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Amy Coney Barret, Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, JJ.

Read Full Report…

 8:1 Majority in Child Slavery Case

 Whether Nestlé and Cargill will be liable for child slavery? SCOTUS decides in 8-1 majority ruling

 In 8-1 majority, Thomas, J., announced the judgment of the Court and delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Parts I and II, in which Roberts, CJ., and Breyer, Sotomayor, Kagan, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett, JJ., joined, and an opinion with respect to Part III, in which Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, JJ., joined. Gorsuch, J., filed a concurring opinion, in which Alito, J., joined as to Part I, and in which Kavanaugh, J., joined as to Part II. Sotomayor, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment, in which Breyer and Kagan, JJ., joined. Alito  J. filed a dissenting opinion.

Read Full Report…

 Woman’s choice to Abort

Texas Legislation imposing a “near-complete ban on abortions” gets a green signal as SCOTUS declines to grant any relief on the matter

 In a significant decision which can have major repercussions on a woman’s choice to abort in the United States, the full bench of SCOTUS, with a ratio of 5:4, declined to block the Texas law which imposes a near complete ban on abortions. The majority consisted of Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas, JJ.

Read Full Report…

Privacy Claim by Meghan Markle

The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle obtains a significant victory in a privacy claim against Associated Newspapers || Detailed Report

It was a significant victory for the Duchess of Sussex and noted actress Meghan Markle when the Court ruled in her favour while deliberating on the question that whether Associated Newspapers misused her private information and committed breach of her data protection rights with regards to the Letter to her father. It was held that the Duchess had a reasonable expectation that the contents of the Letter would remain private and that The Mail Articles interfered with that reasonable expectation.

Read Full Report…

Man with autistic disorder expresses desire to engage in sexual relations

To have capacity to decide to have sexual relations with another person, does a person need to understand that the other person must have the capacity to consent to the sexual activity and must in fact consent before and throughout the sexual activity?

While expressing that, the fact that the other person must have the ability to consent to the sexual activity and must in fact consent before and throughout the sexual activity applies to everyone in society, Bench of Lord Briggs, Lady Arden, Lord Burrows, Lord Stephens and Lady Rose, JJ., laid down a very detailed decision on ‘consent’ with respect to sexual relations and the catch in the present matter was the diagnosis of autistic disorder of the appellant.

Read Full Report…

 Liability of Tour Operator

Is tour operator liable for rape of tourist by hotel employee? Read UKSC’s ruling on how to interpret package travel contract

Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, while unanimously allowing the appeal held that,

Tours and Travel Company undertook to provide a package holiday at a four-star hotel. The Court stated the same to be an integral part of a holiday of such a standard that hotel staff provide guests with assistance with ordinary matters affecting them at the hotel as part of their holiday experience. It includes guiding guests from one part of the hotel to another. The rape and assault of the appellant amounted to a failure to provide that service with proper care.

Read Full Report…


Advance Rulings


 Packed Paratha: Do they attract GST? Gujarat AAR decides

Whether various kinds of ‘parathas’ supplied would attract 5% GST in line with ‘khakhra’, plain chapati or ‘roti’? Explained

Emphasizing that ‘Paratha’ is not ready-to-cook products, the Bench of Sanjay Saxena and Arun Richard (Members) held that GST rate of 18% will be applicable.

Read Full Report…

 GST on Hostel Rent? MahaGST decides

 Whether activity of providing hostel to students on rent is taxable or not? If yes, under which exemption

The Bench of Rajiv Magoo, Joint Commissioner of Central Tax and T.R. Ramnani, Joint Commissioner of State Tax decided that GST is exempted on Hostel Rent of less than Rs 1000 per day per student. 

Read Full Report…


Major High Court Rulings


 ‘Eliminating competition in business using writ jurisdiction not permissible’

Whether a competitor can prevent a rival from exercising right to carry on business?

Allahabad High Court reiterated the settled position that in normal course it is not open for a person to seek to prevent a rival from exercising the right to carry on business.

Competition in a trade or business may be subject to restrictions as are permissible and as may be imposed by a law enacted in the interests of the general public. However, independent of any such restriction, a person cannot claim that no other person shall carry on business or trade so as to adversely affect his trade or business.

Read Full Report…

Publication of Notice of Intended Marriage under Special Marriage Act: Mandatory?

“Cruel, unethical to force present generation to follow 150 yrs old customs, traditions which violate fundamental rights”

Vivek Chaudhary, J., held that while giving notice under Section 5 of the Special Marriage Act, 1954, it shall be optional for the parties to the intended marriage to make a request in writing to the Marriage Officer to publish or NOT to publish a notice under Section 6 and follow the procedure of objections as prescribed under the Act.

Read Full Report…

 Judicial Magistrate to remain careful while passing Judicial Orders

“If a Judge makes a mistake, then from where will the general public get fair justice”

Allahabad High Court expressed that:

“At the present time, only from the temple of justice like Courts, everyone hopes for right and fair justice.”

Read Full Report…

Father’s Right on preserved sperm of son

Does a father entail a ‘fundamental right’ on the preserved sperm of his son after his demise? HC answers

Calcutta High Court addressed the issue of whether in the father-son relationship if the father has the fundamental right to the preserved sperm of the son after his demise.

Read Full Report…

 Proper recognition of the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community

Madras HC Judge “removes Lordship’s hat” for framing guidelines for proper recognition of LGBTQIA+ rights, acknowledges “gurus” for pulling him out of darkness of ignorance

Anand Venkatesh, J., issued interim directions for proper recognition of the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community and to ensure their safety and security to lead a life of their choice.

Read Full Report…

POCSO Act: Does it brings in cases where adolescents involved in romantic relations are concerned?

‘High time to amend POCSO Act considering cases where adolescents in grip of their hormones involve in romantic relationship’

Madras High Court while addressing a matter revolving around the POCSO Act expressed that:

“What came to be a law to protect and render justice to victims and survivors of child abuse, can, become a tool in the hands of certain sections of the society to abuse the process of law.”

The scheme of the POCSO Act clearly shows that it did not intend to bring within its scope or ambit, cases of nature where adolescents or teenagers involved in romantic relationships are concerned.

Read Full Report…

 Viewing ‘Child Pornography’ is an offence?

Is there a distinction between a one-time consumer of ‘child pornography’ and someone who distributes and transmits it on a digital domain?

“It is obvious that the moment one steps into digital space, one comes under the surveillance either of the State or those manning the social networking sites. If one is zealous about privacy, the only option is to stay outside such networks. Of course, in the current world, it is not a viable option.”

Read full Report…

Exhaustive analysis of an elephant’s bonding with caretaker

While protecting an elephant from psychological wound, HC disallows removal of ‘Lalitha’ from caretaker’s custody

 Madras High Court stated that, retention of custody of an Elephant named ‘Lalitha’ to her caretaker with whom she had stayed for almost 20 years and had an emotional bonding observed that,

“Just solutions to legal issues may sometimes lie outside the formal statutory framework. Judges should therefore boldly think outside the box and not feel inhibited or timid.”

Read Full Report…

 Is using of National Flag as a table cloth Sedition?

 Gauhati High Court grants bail to the woman accused of willfully dishonouring the National Flag.

“It did not prima facie suggest to be an act to have the affect of subverting the Government by bringing that Government into contempt or hatred or creating disaffection against it.”

Read Full Report…

Evidentiary value of WhatsApp Messages

Whatsapp messages do not have any evidentiary value in the absence of certificate under S. 65B of Evidence Act

In an interesting case regarding regular bail, Punjab and Haryana High Court held that WhatsApp messages do not have any evidentiary value in the absence of certificate under Section 65B of Evidence Act, 1872.

Read Full Report…

Publishing a newspaper report regarding sexual assault incident

A Newspaper report about sexual assault incident along with sum and substance of FIR lodged with no disclosure of victim’s name. Will defamation provision under Ss. 500 or 501 IPC be applied on the publisher, editor, etc.?

“…publishing of newspaper report of facts of lodging of an FIR cannot be said to be defamatory, especially when the FIR has been lodged by the victim herself.”

Read Full Report…

Recommendations of Human Rights Commission are binding on Government, legally enforceable

‘Amend! Make Human Rights Act a Complete Code’, HC suggests to collective wisdom of Parliament

A Full Bench of S. Vaidyanathan, V. Parthiban and M.Sundar, JJ. held that the recommendation of the Human Rights Commission made under Section 18 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 (“Human Rights Act”) is binding on the Government or the Authority concerned. The Government is under a legal obligation to forward its comments on the Report including the action taken or proposed to be taken to the Commission in terms of sub-clause (e) of Section 18. Therefore, the recommendation of the Human Rights Commission under Section 18 is an adjudicatory order which is legally and immediately enforceable.

Read Full Report…

 Communal Separation at Temple?

 Temple shall not be a place for perpetuating communal separation leading to discrimination

Madras High Court observed that, God does not recognize any community. It only recognizes a human being, who goes there to pray.

Read Full Report… 

Toon Controversy

Cartoonist wanting to express anger, cannot be construed as defamation: Madras HC quashes criminal case against cartoonist, says cannot teach ethics to people

Just like, any other citizen, a cartoonist is also bound by the law and in the form of a cartoon, he cannot defame anyone, this is the settled position of law.

Read Full Report…

Menace due to Online games

Ban Online Games or not? Read HC’s opinion on not entering into such matters. Is it a policy matter?

Madras High Court while addressing a matter with respect to menace being caused due to online games expressed its opinion whether the Court can ban the same or not.

Read Full Report…

Attempt to Rape

 No disrobing, no penetration; will nudging and putting the victim to ground amount to attempt to rape?

Meghalaya High Court has held that the ingredients that are to be seen existing in an allegation of attempt to rape is that there must be firstly an intention to commit, then preparation to commit it and thirdly, to commit it.

Read Full Report… 

Posthumous child in mother’s womb

A Posthumous child who was still in his mother’s womb while his father passed away, would he be entitled to compassionate appointment on attaining majority under Rules of 1974?

Allahabad High Court addressed an issue with regard to whether a posthumous child is entitled to compassionate appointment under Uttar Pradesh Recruitment of Dependents of Government Servants Dying in Harness Rules, 1974.

Read Full Report…

 Validity of Child Marriage

If a minor girl marries a major of her free will, will such marriage be void or voidable?

Allahabad High Court directed that the minor in the instant case who stated that she married the accused of her free will, be housed in a State facility or shelter home which shall be other than a Nari Niketan or a home meant for delinquents, till she attains the age of eighteen years.

Read Full Report…

 Judiciary a Policy making instrument?

Judiciary – The policy-making instrument on issues relating to marriage conversion and acceptability in terms of personal laws?

Calcutta High Court held that the Judiciary is not the policy-making instrument on issues regarding conversion of marriage in terms of personal laws, though it may sit in Judgment on the validity, the enforceability of any piece of law made by a legislative body.

Read Full Report here…

 Artificial Ripening of Fruits

Gauhati High Court considers health hazards; lays down detailed guidelines to ensure chemical-free ripening of fruits

In an interesting case of PIL concerning artificial ripening of fruits, Court stated,

“Although appropriate steps had been taken and authorities are not oblivious to the impending problem, but what has been done till now cannot be said to be adequate or that it had led to the eradication of the problem.”

Read Full Report…

 Maternity leave for Contractual Employees

Whether a contractual woman employee is entitled to avail of maternity leave in case of a surrogate child?

 Himachal Pradesh High Court stated that,

to distinguish between a mother who begets a child through surrogacy and a natural mother, who gives birth to a child, would result in insulting womanhood and the intention of a woman to bring up a child begotten through surrogacy. Motherhood never ends on the birth of the child and a commissioning mother cannot be refused paid maternity leave. A woman cannot be discriminated, as far as maternity benefits are concerned, only on the ground that she has obtained the baby through surrogacy.

Read Full Report…

 Government bungalows are Public property

Jammu and Kashmir High Court directs State to ensure eviction of unauthorised occupants from Government accommodation

The Division Bench of the Court had heard the instant PIL, directed to be registered by the Court on its own motion in terms State of J&K v. Mir Saifullah, CM No.4613 of 2020. The instant petition was regarding unauthorized/ illegal occupation of Government accommodation by the erstwhile allottees in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

Read Full Report…

 Child born out of a live-in relationship

Status of Children in a live-in relationship & mother’s decision to recognize fatherhood of child

Kerala High Court held that:

“…woman in a live-in-relationship, acknowledging the biological father of the child, out of such a relationship, will have to be treated as a married woman for the purpose of Juvenile Justice.”

Read Full Report…

Muslim women’s right to Khula (extra-judicial divorce) revived; Patriarchal decision in K. C. Moyin overruled

Kerala High Court addressed the controversial question regarding rights of Muslim women, i.e.  Have Muslim women lost their right to invoke extra-judicial divorce, after the coming into force of the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939? A number of women had approached the Court for seeking to validate their extra-judicial divorce by obtaining a declaration to that affect. The Bench expressed,

“These cases speak in abundance about the patriarchal mind-set followed in the Society for decades depriving Muslim women their right to invoke extra-judicial divorce. The above sketch the miseries of women despite the promise guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution of India.”

Read Full Report…

 CAs Right to Practice

Can ICAI refuse to recognize retirement of CA from a firm?

Kerala High Court pronounced a landmark judgment regarding right to practice of Chartered Accountants. The Bench held,

“The decision of ICAI not to recognize and record the retirement of the petitioner from ‘M/s. R. Kumar and Associates’ will therefore cause unnecessary and unwarranted hindrance to the professional advancement of the petitioner. It will offend the fundamental right of the petitioner to practice a profession freely, guaranteed to him under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India.”

Read Full Report…

 Paedophilia

Little girls are worshipped in our country, but cases of pedophilia are increasing”: HC says it’s time to strictly stop this kind of crime

The victim/female small child experience sexual abuse once tend to be more vulnerable to abuse in adult life. Healing is slow and systematic. In such a situation, if the right decision is not taken from the Court at the right time, then the trust of a victim/common man will not be left in the judicial system. This is the time to strictly stop this kind of crime.

Read Full Report…

 Unnatural Sex by Husband

“Sexual intercourse by husband would not constitute an offence of rape even if it was by force or against her wish”; Can a wife initiate proceedings against her husband for unnatural sex under S. 377 IPC?

“…charge framed under Section 377 of the IPC cannot be said to be erroneous at the stage of framing of charge, especially, in terms of Section 377 of the IPC where dominant intention of the offender is to derive unnatural sexual satisfaction by repeatedly inserting any object in the sex organ of the victim and consequently deriving sexual pleasure, such act would constitute as carnal intercourse against the order of nature and such act would attract the ingredient of offence under Section 377 of the IPC.”

Read Full Report…

 Marital Rape

Is marital rape a form of cruelty? Can it be a ground for divorce? HC examines

Treating wife’s body as something owing to husband and committing sexual act against her will is nothing but marital rape.

Read Full Report…

Right to be Forgotten

Madras HC decides whether redacting names of acquitted persons from court record is possible

The peculiarity of seeking redaction of the name of accused persons who have been acquitted, has essentially gained significance due to the development of science and technology that has virtually brought everything under the sky to the fingertips of any person who may have access to the internet. The search engines provide information about any person and whatever information is available in the “Cloud” can be accessed by anyone.

Read Full Report…

 Astrology v. Science

Can Courts direct citizens to stop believing in astrology? Read Madras HC’s opinion

 “…there are some matters in which exact answers may not be available as the only known intelligent life form in the universe endeavours to grapple with the unknown.”

 Read Full Report…

 Girl Indulging in Carnal Activities with a boy

In India, a girl would not indulge in carnal activities with boys just for enjoyment, unless the same is backed by some future promise; Court denies bail in allegation of rape

“…a boy who is entering into a physical relationship with a lass must realize that his actions have consequences and should be ready to face the same as it is the girl who is always at the receiving end because it is she who runs the risk of being pregnant and also her ignominy in the society, if her relationship is disclosed. You just cannot plead consent on the part of the prosecutrix and laugh all the way to your home.”

 Read Full Report…

 Miminum Wages applicable to a ‘Math’?

Whether Minimum Wages Act, 1948 will be applicable to a ‘Math’? In what circumstances can State be permitted to interfere? AP HC explains

Temple and Math are both religious institutions, but the purposes for which they are established and the manner in which they function are clearly specified in Section 2(17) of  A.P. Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions & Endowments Act, 1987 Act.

Read Full Report…

 Rumourous Tweet

Will a rumourous tweet make one legally liable even when one deletes it on coming to know it to be untrue? HC decides

“A perusal of the petitioner’s tweet would reveal that it begins with words “JUST HEARD”, meaning thereby that what was uploaded by him was just heard by him and he had no personal knowledge of the same respondents and this subsequent conduct of the petitioner also makes it ample clear that the said tweet was uploaded in a good faith without any criminal intention to generate the consequences as provided by section 505 RPC.”

Read Full Report…

 Legitimacy of a Child

Can DNA test be conducted to determine legitimacy of a child in a divorce petition without the child being on the party array? HC answers

“The illegitimacy or paternity of the child is only incidental to the claim for dissolution of marriage on the ground of adultery or infidelity. The child’s presence is not necessary to adjudicate the relief claimed.”

Read Full Report…

Fake Lawyer

“If leniency is taken, just considering the fact that she is a young lady, it will be a shame for the whole judicial system”; HC dismisses bail application of infamous fake lawyer

“The illegal activities adopted by her that too before the court of law has to be dealt with an iron hand. If leniency is taken, just considering the fact that she is a young lady, it will be a shame for the whole Judicial system and would shake the confidence of the public in judicial system.”

Read Full Report…

Supreme Court Benches 

Madras HC on setting up Benches of Supreme Court: An Indian, from a far-flung corner, has been unable to approach great Citadel of Justice, hailed as the ‘sentinel on the qui vive’ 

“Litigants are compelled to accept the wrong orders in view of inaccessibility to New Delhi and the exorbitant expenses towards engaging a counsel.”

Read Full Report…

 IT Rules, 2021

‘Oversight mechanism to control media by Govt. may rob media of its independence’: Madras HC’s prima facie observation

The Division Bench of Sanjib Banerjee, CJ and P.D. Audikesavalu, J., prima facie observed that an oversight mechanism to control the media by the government may rob the media of its independence and fourth pillar, so to say, of democracy may not at all be there. The High Court was hearing a challenge to the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.

Read Full Report…

Mumbai Cruise Drugs Case

 Bom HC grants bail to Aryan Khan, 2 others: Read the fourteen bail conditions

Nitin W. Sambre, J., grants bail to accused Aryan Shah Rukh Khan, Arbaaz A. Merchant and Munmum Dhamecha while laying down 14 conditions.

Read Full Report…

 Restaurant with liquor license in the vicinity of a School

Our educational institutions are so weak that they would fear that students would get adversely affected if a restaurant having liquor license was in school’s vicinity: Is it true? Bom HC finds out

An educational institute certainly contributes in creating ideal citizens. Human virtues and morals can never remain the same. It is thus more important that an endeavour of an educational institution should be to impart such education, so that the basic human values and good virtues are inculcated in the students, to make them ideal citizens.

Read Full Report…

Prohibition to carry drinking water in Cinema Hall

Cinema owners are liable to pay compensation for not providing free potable & pure drinking water? | Madras HC Decision

“Cinema Hall, which seeks to prohibit carrying of drinking water inside the Cinema Hall for security reasons, must necessarily provide free potable and pure drinking water”

Read Full Report…

 POCSO

Putting penis into mouth will fall under which category – Aggravated Sexual Assault or Penetrative Sexual Assault?

Allahabad High Court while addressing a matter of child sexual assault, expressed that,

Putting penis into the mouth does not fall in the category of aggravated sexual assault or sexual assault. It comes into the category of penetrative sexual assault which is punishable under Section 4 of POCSO Act.

Read Full Report…

Driving under influence of alcohol

Know the 9 directions that Police Officers have to follow on finding vehicle being driven under influence of alcohol

Lakshman, J., while addressing a very pertinent issue expressed that,

Intention of the Legislature is to reduce the accidents and deaths that may be caused due to driving of vehicles in intoxicated condition, and it is not the intention to harass the owners of the vehicles by detaining the vehicles for days together.

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Murder of Wife and 4 Minor Daughters

Man murdered wife and 4 minor daughters and burned them. Will this case fall under rarest of rare category? Allahabad HC decides

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RoundUps’ of the Year 2021


Year-End Round-Up of District Courts | From #MeToo Verdicts, ICICI — Videocon Scam, Toolkit Case to Delhi Riots: Get a Glimpse of it All

Media Trial, Sexual Assault, Judicial Over-Reach, Hate Speech, COVID-19 Updates and much more covered in over 90 topics | Bombay High Court’s Year-End Roundup 2021

Delhi High Court’s Exhaustive Year-End RoundUp | Amazon v. Future Retail, Rakesh Asthana’s appointment, Feeding of Stray Dogs, 5G Technology, Delhi Riots & more

 

Foreign LegislationLegislation Updates

The Government of United Kingdom has launched its first National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy to boost business use of Artificial Intelligence, attract international investment and strengthen its position as a global science superpower. Key features of the strategy are:

 

  • The strategy seeks to position country as global leader in the governance of AI technologies and includes plans for a white paper on AI regulation.
  • It also aims to seize the potential of modern technology to improve people’s lives and solve global challenges such as climate change and public health.
  • New National AI Research and Innovation Programme alongside review of nation’s future computing capacity will help make sure UK discovers and develops latest innovations.
  • It also includes plans to launch a National AI Research and Innovation Programme to improve coordination and collaboration between the country’s researchers and help transform the UK’s AI capabilities, while boosting business and public sector adoption of AI technologies and their ability to take them to market.


*Tanvi Singh, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Case BriefsForeign Courts

England and Wales High Court (Patents Court): Marcus Smith, J. explained exhaustively whether an ‘Artificial Intelligence Machine’ DABUS can be categorized as an inventor and granted patent or not.

“merely inventing something does not result in a patent being granted to the inventor.”

Appellant had filed two applications in his own name, Stephen Thaler.

Request for Grant forms (Patent Form 1) accompanying the application s stated that Dr Thaler was not an inventor of the inventions specified in the applications.

In the present matter, Dr Thaler was notified by two letters from the Intellectual Property Office that he would need to file a statement of inventorship and right of grant to a patent within 16 months of the filing date as per Section 13 of the Patents Act, 1977.

Dr Thaler filed the statements of inventorship on separate Patent Forms for the applications.

Inventor: An Artificial Intelligence Machine?

Patent form 7s and a letter that accompanied it stated that the inventor was the artificial intelligence machine called DABUS and that Dr Thaler had acquired the right to grant of the patents in question by “ownership of the creativity machine DABUS”.

Basis for applications by Dr Thaler

Form 7s in relation to DABUS stated that,

Inventorship should not be restricted to natural persons. A machine which would meet inventorship criteria if a natural person should qualify as an inventor.

An “autonomous machine invention” should be assigned to the owner of the machine.

If a machine cannot be an inventor, the first person to recognize the inventive nature of autonomous machine input may qualify as an inventor.

Bench found Dr Thaler’s reliance on Section 13 of the Patents Act 1977 confusing and difficult to follow.

The statutory process for the application for and grant of a patent proceeds on the basis that certain statements (specifically as regards the identity of the inventor and any chain of title from the inventor to the actual applicant) are not necessarily examined or adjudicated upon during the course of the application process. The basis for this approach derives from Section 7(4) of the Patents Act 1977, which provides for a presumption that an applicant (or applicants) for a patent shall be taken to be entitled under Section 7(2).

Thus, the Bench opined that, Dr Thaler’s contention that Section 13 of the Patents Act 1977 was dispositive of his right to be granted a patent without reference to the provisions of Section 7 was fundamentally misconceived and wrong.

Further, the Court noted that DABUS was not a person, whether natural or legal. Hence, it was clear that DABUS cannot make an application for a patent, whether by itself or jointly with another.

Since Dr Thaler was the applicant in the present matter, the requirements of Section 7(1) were completed.

Can a patent be only granted to a person?

In view of the Court, one thing was clear from the statutory scheme in the Patents Act, 1977 that – whatever the meaning of the term “inventor” – a patent can only be granted to a person.

Reasons:

  1. First, and most fundamentally, only a person can hold property and an invention, an application for the grant of a patent and the patent itself are all property rights. Were the 1977 Act to contemplate a thing owning another thing, then Court would expect extremely clear language to be used in the Act to compel such a conclusion.
  2. The language of the Patents Act 1977 makes clear that the holder of a patent must be a person.

Whether Dr Thaler falls within any of the three classes as defined in Section 7(2) as Class (a), Class (b) and Class (c), he being the person making the application?

It was observed that Dr Thaler positively asserted that DABUS was the inventor and denied that status for himself.

Inevitable reading suggests that an “inventor” is a person.

DABUS cannot be an inventor within the meaning of the 1977 Act, simply because DABUS is not a person.

In Court’s opinion, Dr Thaler’s contention he was entitled to the grant of patents pursuant to the Application because he falls within one Class (b) or Class (c) was hopeless and fails, for the following reasons:

  1. Dr Thaler has abjured the status of inventor. He says DABUS is the inventor, whilst conceding that DABUS is not a person. Even if Court accepted that DABUS was capable of being an “inventor” – which, for the reasons Court has given, it does not – Dr Thaler’s application would be hopeless, because DABUS would – by reason of its status as a thing and not a person – be incapable of conveying any property to Dr Thaler. In short, the ability to transfer, which DABUS lacks, is fatal to Dr Thaler’s contentions. The same point can be put in a different way: because DABUS is a thing, it cannot even hold property, let alone transfer it.
  2. Dr Thaler is a person quite capable of being the transferee of a property right. The problem that he has is that there is nothing to be transferred to him and nobody capable of transferring it. This difficulty was highlighted in Dr Thaler’s inability to identify any mechanism or transaction (whether within Section 7(2) (b) or (c) or otherwise) whereby rights could pass to him. The best that Dr Thaler could do was to rely on his ownership and control of DABUS, which for the purposes of this appeal Court was prepared to accept.

“the owner of a thing is owner of the fruits of that thing. Thus, the owner of a fruit tree will generally own the fruit produced by that tree.”

A patent must be applied for by a person.

Bench held that simply because DABUS has invented something and Dr thaler owns DABUS, Dr Thaler will not be entitled to the grant of patent.

Conclusion

In view of the above discussion, the appeal was dismissed. [Stephen L. Thaler v. Comptroller-General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks, [2020] EWHC 2412 (Pat), decided on 15-07-2020]

Op EdsOP. ED.

Introduction

Technological advancements in law practice have assisted the legal professionals in many ways. Current law practice cannot be imagined without legal technology. Previously, when the legal search engines and databases were unavailable, it would have taken much more time in legal research for case laws. One would have gone to different libraries for research and finally would have found some relevant information. At present, information is merely a click away. With technological advancement AI, machine learning, natural language processing (NLP) have also entered legal field. Artificial intelligence or AI is the capability of machines to emulate human intelligent behaviour.[1] AI can perform complex tasks by applying human intellectual characteristics. Machine learning is the mechanism through which a machine or a computer can improvise its performance by analysing new information and patterns.[2] Algorithm development is one such example of machine learning. Natural language processing deals with human and machine interaction.[3] If computers and humans have alike language then it would be very convenient for the legal professionals to develop software for assistance. With development of these AI technologies lawyers can have ease of work but there is a fear that with the advent of AI the employment might be affected. Benefits might come with certain disadvantage.

Anxiety pertaining to technology

 There is a general misconception that technological advancements will always bring unemployment, however it is pertinent to note that technology as a discipline is in itself a field where workers and professionals are required which in turn might increase the employment rate. At present the anxiety that AI will take over jobs of lawyers is far-fetched. That era is yet to arrive when works of AI would be credible enough without human intervention. Lawyers are often concerned about new technology, probably due to inability to understand it or may be due to the apprehension that the technology might make their jobs obsolete.[4] However more a person understands the new technology, more likely it is to get over with the fear. Prima facie, AI has an impression of something as robots with human deception conquering over the jobs of human and having an ability to develop dominion over the human race. We are oblivious of the fact that these technologies have been developed by humans in first place. Further, AI does not only mean robots, it is a science of computers having the ability to perform certain tasks with human intelligence. AI and other technological advancements have positively transformed the law practice by making research and other tasks convenient and easily accessible. Human intelligence used in the review of documents, proofreading, due diligence, etc. cannot be replaced, though mere assistance of AI can be used. It is pertinent to note that AI will create jobs in the field of technology which in turn would increase employment. AI cannot interact with clients by understanding the issues or argue in court of law. Credibility of an individual is more than AI as AI is the creation of humans ultimately. Though the next generation lawyers should have certain technical skills as well.

Contemporary fields of AI usage

AI is being used for various purposes by the lawyers, due diligence being one of them. Other purposes include automation, legal analytics and prediction technology. Paper would be dealing with due diligence part in an elaborated manner.

  1. Automation

Automation is the technology that uses specific rules to carry out tasks on the basis of decision trees that has a pattern which is followed as per the query.[5] This technology is used in advice systems in cross-border acquisitions and financing guide that can give precise overview of legal and financial development in any country. The guides can quickly provide answer to specific queries.[6] Automation technology can also assist in developing drafting systems saving time and cost. However, document creation is considered as general source of livelihood for lawyers. Automated documentation can certainly reduce costs but can affect the employment opportunities. Though automated documents will require a proof read, still it can encroach on many jobs.

  1. Legal analytics

Legal research is the skill that is a prerequisite for a successful lawyer. Very general principal methodology is identifying the relevant statutes and the provisions and applying the case law. The analytics technology will be based on software that involves advanced predictive technology like natural language processing and machine learning and it can analyse data from many case documents.[7] Previously, for such information, the research was very time consuming and there was human dependence for prediction of behaviours of particular Judge or Bench for the deciding a case.

  1. Due diligence

One of the major tasks of lawyer is to review the documents, fact and exercise appropriate care in carrying out task related to advisory, investments, mergers and acquisitions, real estate work. AI can ease the work related to e-discovery, contract review and background research. Usually, these tasks take a lot of time that can lead to issues of deadlines.

Kira systems is one such company that provides for the AI solutions to the law firms.[8] It automatically extracts and analyse important points from a contract which can be helpful in carrying out due diligence. Apart from due diligence, AI solutions pertaining to compliance, finance, lease abstraction is also provided.

AI in M&A due diligence

The main issue of AI in due diligence is that of its impact on lawyers, whether it will positively impact or not. In due diligence certain steps are essential like background search regarding any pending litigation or financial liabilities and identification of potential risk due to merger.

The main aim of due diligence in M&A is to detect the potential issues that may come up in any transaction. The company acquiring will be requiring certain disclosures form the target company to identify and allocate the risks involved before acquiring the business. Parties to the transaction sign the confidentiality agreement and then the target company provides the relevant documents. Gathering the relevant documents can be a difficult task as there can be different offices or locations from where the document is to be collected. This could also lead to missing out of an important document. Acquirer then sends a list of the documents that are required to be uploaded in the virtual data room, for this target company has to digitise the documents. After the documents have been uploaded, the counsel of the acquiring company reviews the documents and analyse the risks related to pre-existing liabilities and consequences. If the parties have consensus then they sign the letter of intent.

Due to large amount of electronically stored information, background search has significantly changed. Now the information can be searched online, for example regarding pending litigation, the court’s website can be searched and other information about the company can be obtained through the Ministry of Corporate Affairs’ website. Despite information being electronically stored due diligence can be a time consuming and lengthy process. Previously lawyers had to go through thousands of paper documents but at present ESI (electronically stored information) management system can conveniently perform the tasks.[9] This technology can be used in M&A due diligence process as well for disclosure which can be then used in risk allocation and establish further steps.[10] A study conducted by one of the makers of AI due diligence technology, LawGeex stated that AI can be better in finding errors and analysing risk in non-disclosure agreements.[11] Further, it was found in that study that it took about 92 minutes for an average lawyer to review five agreements with 85% accuracy whereas AI reviewed all five agreements in 23 seconds with 94% accuracy.[12] Automation technologies, reflective random indexing can assist in M&A due diligence. In reflective random indexing a system learns to deduce on the basis of previous works.[13] AI and machine learning process can prioritise, classify, organise and identify documents that are to be disclosed according to the business agreement with an increased efficiency and less cost.[14] Major amount of lawyer’s fees is generated due to the investment of expensive hours in document review.[15]

Concerns regarding AI in due diligence

There are two aspects attached to the use of AI technology in due diligence. First, that an individual will be more credible than a machine. Machine is created by humans so in case of error an AI system cannot be held liable. Second important aspect to note is that a human can err in performing tasks but a machine does what it is programmed to do, it can carry out tasks more efficiently so chances of error due exhaustion is very minimal. Ultimately, AI cannot in itself perform tasks in isolation, it is made to assist human not replace them. The client company might have an opinion or a preference regarding the lawyers using or not using AI. Some might prefer AI equipped technology as there is less chance of error and increased efficiency, others on the other hand might go for the regular mechanism that does not include AI.

Software failure and lack of proper training of AI can also lead to missing of vital information and it should be noted that a software being made liable for an error is highly questionable.[16] Further, the sensitive confidential information might be exposed due to the threat of cyber attack and viruses. Furthermore, the question of attorney client privilege might be questioned in certain jurisdiction. Firms opting for AI technology must not be willing to invest only on AI technology but also on appropriate human resource to train such software or else it might backfire the purpose for which it was established. AI can certainly be used as a tool of assistance but cannot replace lawyers.

Conclusion

AI in due diligence and law practice is a field yet to be discovered. There can be different opinion regarding AI in legal profession that it can be cost effective and convenient or will invite unemployment. It is pertinent to note that AI ultimately develops from human mind so the idea of AI replacing human is still a mystery. The technology in the field of law aims to assist the lawyers and not replace them with robots. In medical science, the operation, even of conducted through robotics technology, even then the machine is operated under the supervision of the qualified doctor. Further, even if AI technology affects employment, not all jobs of lawyers can be replaced in near future. Uniform governing law might be required in future for governing AI technology. We are still a long way from robot lawyering era. There are many questions regarding the equal access to the essential technology required for lawyers. The education system for a law degree has to be uniform and technology must be taught to them to cope with the progressive technologies.


Pursuing BA LLB (Hons.), 8th semester, Institute of Law, Nirma University.

[1] Intelligence, Merriam Webster Dictionary.

[2] Machine Learning, Merriam Webster Dictionary.

[3] Dr Michael J. Garbade, A Simple Introduction to Natural Language Processing, Becoming Human,  (13-6- 2020, 10:02 a.m.), <https://becominghuman.ai/a-simple-introduction-to-natural-language-processing-ea66a1747b32>.

[4] Brandy Jo Lea and Prof. Kevin P. Lee, Artificial Intelligence in the Legal Profession, Campbell Uni. J. (December 2018).

[5] Thought Leadership, Artificial Intelligence and the Future for Legal Services (13-6-2020, 01:05 p.m.), <https://www.cliffordchance.com/content/dam/cliffordchance/briefings/2017/11/artificial-intelligence-and-the-future-for-legal-services.pdf> at p. 4.

[6] Id.

 [7]Supra Note 4.

[8] Kira (14-6-2020, 11:05 a.m.)  <https://kirasystems.com/>.

[9] Ben Klaber, Artificial Intelligence and Transactional Law: Automated M&A Due Diligence, UMIACS (14-6-2020, 2:00 p.m.), <http://users.umiacs.umd.edu/~oard/desi5/additional/Klaber.pdf> p. 1.

[10] Id.

[11] Joe Dysart, AI Removes the Drudgery from Legal Due Diligence, ACM News (14-6-2020, 5:10 p.m.), <https://cacm.acm.org/news/233886-ai-removes-the-drudgery-from-legal-due-diligence/fulltext>.

[12] Id.

[13] Trevor Cohen, Roger Schvaneveldt and Dominic Widdows, Reflective Random Indexing and indirect inference: A scalable method for discovery of implicit connections, Journal of Biomedical Informatics 43 (2010) 240-56, <http://users.umiacs.umd.edu/~oard/desi5/additional/Klaber.pdf>.

[14] Supra Note 9.

[15] Justin Evans, Use of Artificial Intelligence During Due Diligence Creates a Global View of a Target Company, Intellectually Jay (14-6-2020, 8:35 a.m.), <https://www.intellectuallyjay.com/2018/02/use-artificial-intelligence-due-diligence-creates-global-view-target-company/conclusion>.

[16] Javier Tortuero, Artificial Intelligence and M&A Due Diligence Current Trends, NYSBA (14-6-2020, 10:46 a.m.), <https://nysba.org/NYSBA/Sections/International/Events/2017/Corporate%20Wedding%20Bells%20CrossBorder%20Mergers%20and%20Acquisitions/Coursebook/Panel%202/Artificial%20Intelligence%20and%20Mergers%20and%20Acquisitions%20Due%20Diligence.pdf> p. 3.

Op EdsOP. ED.

The influx of AI in various businesses intricate has forced the companies to rethink the base of a business and change its attitude towards more prospective business strategy including innovation from AI. The bigger issue comes up when AI itself becomes the inventor or author. This write-up will aim to delve around the bigger issue of whether an AI could be ascribed as an inventor in the light of the Dabus case and how this case was a missed chance to develop a jurisprudence of this contentious issue.

The case of Stephen L Thaler v. Comptroller General of Patents, Design and Trade Mark[1]  is the latest celebrated case of  United Kingdom (‘UK’). It starts from two patent applications, GB1816909.4 and GB1818161.0, respectively filed by Thaler in his name, in the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (‘IPO’) for the grant of patents. The application specifies that Thaler was not an inventor, which is possible as Section 30[2]  of the Patents Act, 1977 (‘the Act’) states that the right to apply for a patent is transferable. IPO subsequently notified Thaler to file the statement of inventor-ship and the right to grant patents pursuant to Section 13 of the Act which was Patent Form 7[3]. Thaler filed  Patent Form 7 where he stated that the inventor is none other than an AI named Device for the Autonomous Bootstrapping of Unified Sentience (‘DABUS’) and since he is the owner of the AI is entitled to obtain the right to grant of the patents. To put it simply, Dabus is the inventor, and Dabus is owned by Thaler. Due to this ownership of Dabus by Thaler, Dabus has transferred the right to grant patents to Thaler. So inherently, the contention assumes that  Dabus is entitled to have patents and hence, it can transfer it to its owner, Thaler. This inherent assumption put in the case has caused the conundrum that whether an AI can be granted a patent, leave alone transferring it. The decision of IPO was negative, which was appealed to the High Court of England and Wales, Special Patents Court which upheld the IPO’s decision.

A similar matter was also been raised in the European Patent Office as well as the United States Patent and Trademark Office but it received the same fate. For our discussion, the author will be restricted to the decision of the Special Patents Court of the High Court of England and Wales and will analyse the situation in the light of the reasoning given by the High Court.

The author tried to delve into various legislations and ended up getting only one provision that does not directly specify but tries to fill some gap with regards to computer-generated work specifically dealing with copyright. Section 9 Para 3[4]  of the UK Copyright, Design and Patents Act, 1988 specifies that any artistic, literally, dramatic or musical work that being computer-generated; the author will be the one who undertakes all the necessary arrangements. But it doesn’t answer our tryst for patents and inventions. The United States (‘US’) doesn’t leave any scope. Section 306[5]  of the Compendium of the US Copyright Office states clearly that registration of authorship will only be done, provided that the work was created by a human being, giving no scope to AI made expressions leave alone for copyrights. The US Patents Law narrows down the term inventor to ‘individual’ or in case of the joint invention, ‘individuals’. Hence, by using the term ‘individual’, the US does not leave any scope for corporations too.

Before getting on to analyse this case let us make ourselves very clear with two sections of the UK Patents Act, 1977 around which the whole case revolves. Section 7[6]  of the Act provides the right to apply for and grant patents whereby any person may make an application for patents and the inventor can be granted the patents. Section 7(2) states that any person associated with the application through any conventions or any rule of law or any successor is entitled to be granted the patents. Section 7(3) states that the ‘inventor’ concerning the invention is the actual devisor of the invention. Whereas, Section 13[7]  talks about the right of an inventor to be mentioned in the invention. The court analysed each of the sections before arriving at a judgment.

A. Was the Court’s decision appropriate?

The IPO as well the Special Patents Court relied on similar reasoning to reach an agreement. Dabus is not a legal person and being a machine it cannot hold patents for the Act. To critically analyse the court’s decision, we split this into two parts. First, did the court explain the nature of ‘inventor’? Yes, the court did try to answer who the inventor is. But the answer seems to be very simplistic. The Court continuously relied upon the fact that Dabus cannot be granted the patent because it is not the ‘person’ without getting into the literal interpretation of what ‘person’ can constitute. Defining the limit of ‘person’ is something that seems to be left unaddressed.  A person is natural as well as a legal person. Corporations forms as a part of a legal person.  Through the judgment the Court made itself very clear that the inventor cannot be any other than a person, therefore avoiding getting outside the bandwidth of the statutory scheme of the Act. One reason why it can be said to be a missed chance is because of their prior assumption of a person being a human and therefore, avoiding stretching the constitution of the term inventor.

Secondly, did the court try explaining the subject-matter? The author feels that the court failed to address such a contentious issue holistically. What the court did is to revolve around the term ‘inventor’ linking it to ‘person’ keeping prior presumption of a person being a human. Trying to solve this conundrum has left the larger picture being unaddressed about the fate of future cases with this subject-matter. The court very clearly stated that it can only construe legislation and cannot legislate agreeing to the point that this is a policy issue that requires deliberations. It is a matter of how should be and not how the law is. But the court has the power to interpret the law. Only humans can be persons are something which can be treated as a narrow definition being taken by the court.  If a legal person can be construed as a corporation, how minimal a chance can be that an AI could also be a person? The second reason why it can be said to be a missed chance is because of this narrowed interpretation and a missed chance to dictate the jurisprudence that could govern the AI-related inventions in the world.

B. Was the reasoning of the court in consonance with that of the existing legislation?

Sections 7 and 13 of the Act play a major role in this case. Thaler contended that his arguments are based upon Section 13 of the Act and not on Section 7, whereas, the court decided to read Section 13 with Section 7. Section 7 talks about the right to apply for a patent where under Clause 1 the term used is the person. On the other hand, the term used in Clause 2 is ‘inventor’. Clause 3 specifies that the inventor is the actual devisor of patents. Now, Section 13 talks about mentioning the inventor. Primarily, there has been no explicit ‘prohibition’ for granting a patent to AI. Sticking to Section 13 will make the job easier as it speaks of mentioning the inventor which Thaler did by mentioning Dabus. But, the court reiterated the reasoning observed in  Yeda research and development Company Ltd. v. Rhone-Poulenc Rorer International Holding[8]  that Section 7 contains an exhaustive code to determine who is entitled to grant the patents. The author feels that the reasoning being relied upon is wrongly represented. If an inventor used Section 13 as a part of the arguments advanced, there seems no reason to exclude the invention of an AI. Section 13 simply talks about the mentioning of the inventor which Thaler did by mentioning Dabus. The author is of the view that reading Section 13 with Section 7 is being purely misconceived and was unnecessary in the present case. Thaler’s contention being only subject to Section 13 was enough to prove that an AI can be mentioned as an inventor. Section 7(3) specifies that the inventor is one who is the actual devisor of the invention. Let’s suppose, if we read Section 13 with Section 7(3), even then also Dabus is being qualified for being the inventor. The main problem lies with the word ‘person’ being used in Section 7(1), hence either increase the threshold of who the ‘persons’ can be, or it’s better to not read Section 7 as Section 13 is sufficient to prove.

The author feels that, if for the subject-matter, Section 13 sufficiently answers, then it is highly imperative not to link with other sections for the sake of bringing more clarity.

C. Was the Court successful in providing for any policy implications?

The rejection of granting of the patent to Dabus can have large policy implications for the whole world. Not granting the patents sparks a new debate as to who will be the owner of the AI inventions. Well as the author already pointed out, this case was a missed chance to formulate a policy that could at least bring some clarity for the inventions. The author respects the court’s decision and the limitation being propounded by having a separation of power. But the author feels that the court could, at least, have framed some guidelines which can specify the future of such cases. To dismiss the case giving a simple reason, that it being a larger policy issue, cannot be a sufficient answer. One cannot deny the fact that these cases will not come up. The author will reiterate two reasons that will substantiate the lack of policy implication and therefore, it is a missed chance. Firstly, one is not able to effectively interpret what can ‘person’ constitutes. And secondly, not able to effectively deal with the primary subject-matter that who will be the owner of AI-related inventions? Instead, the court relied upon that AI cannot be granted patent since they are not a person and left the question of who should be the owner of AI inventions to a larger policy issue.

Dabus’ case will prove to be the future of AI inventions. In this era of technological interventions, it is very hard to assume the extent of human interventions. Those businesses which are based upon AI for their conduct must be asked to subtract the AI inputs so that the proportions of human inputs could be ascertained, and then it will be realised the depth of AI intervention in today’s technological era. Mostly it has been contended that AI is the tool used by humans in inventing. With the Dabus case, the tool is inventing, Even if the case has been dismissed, it will be a start of the battle for an effective mechanism for AI-related Inventions.


*Author is an Advocate practicing in Allahabad High Court and can be reached at saranshchaturvedi09@gmail.com

[1] [2020] EWHC 2412 (Pat)

[2] Section 30. Nature of, and transactions in, patents and applications for patents

[3] Patent Form 7

[4] Section 9 Para 3, UK Copyright, Design and Patents Act, 1988

[5] Section 306, Compendium of the US Copyright Office

Click to access ch300-copyrightable-authorship.pdf

[6] Section 7. Right to apply for and obtain a patent

[7] Section 13. Mention of Inventor

[8] [2007] UKHL 43 at para 18

New releasesNews

Artificial Intelligence: Law And Policy Implications [Edn. 2020]

Overview:

Artificial Intelligence is an important subdivision of Cyber law and is constantly developing in the country. This thoroughly researched handbook discusses the issues associated with Artificial Intelligence involvement at social, institutional and government level. The work is a blend of multi-disciplines like law, Policy, philosophy, social theory and Technology. It brings together, under one roof contributions by scholars in the newly emerging field of artificial intelligence, policy and Law.  The work makes and attempts to address all the unanswered question which are popping up in the field of law, policy and regulation due to fast development of AI in India and globally.

Notable features

  • It address the legal, policy and regulatory issues pertaining to Artificial Intelligence.
  • Authors have talked about legal principles and legal frameworks relating to Artificial Intelligence
  • Helps to develops legal reasoning on critical issues in Artificial Intelligence and criminal liability.
  • It discusses all the issues in Artificial Intelligence with a multidisciplinary approach.
  • Explains real legal issues that one needs to consider as an AI thinker and legal practitioner.
  • Makes an attempt to legal awareness of Artificial Intelligence technology.
  • Provides clarity on contemporary issues in Artificial Intelligence and law including but not limited to intellectual property, confidentiality, criminal law, Agency and data protection.
  • An asset for research scholars who want to work in the area of AI, policy & law.

Table Of Contents:

Artificial Intelligence-An Overview

 —Aditi Ajay and Akshay Srinivas

The Possibility of Ascribing Legal Personality to AI Systems

—Monidipa Sengupta and Tarique Faiyaz

The Reasonability of A Machine: Liability Conundrum of Artificial Intelligence Under Tort

 —Ashwini Gehlot and Aklovya Panwar

A Paper on Eliminating Bias in Artificial Intelligence

—Srivijay R Sastry and Arjun Kamath

Artificial Intelligence v. Natural (Human) Intelligence― Global Challenge for the Human Rights

 —Shivangi Sinha

Law Relating to Artificial Intelligence: A Study on Governance in India

—N. Venkateshwarlu

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: LAW AND POLICY IMPLICATIONS Free Speech Right to an AI: Probable Paradigm Shift?

—Priyamvada Singh

AI and National Security –Challenges and Advancements

—Simran Kaplish

Artificial Intelligence vis-à-vis IPR Implications: A Case of Indian Context

—Parna Mukherjee and Shreyansh Gaur

Copyright in AI-Generated Works: A Schrödinger’s Cat?

 —Abhishek Kumar Garg and Prachi Jain

Emergence of AI and its Implication Towards Data Privacy: From Indian Legal Perspective

 —Sheshadri Chatterjee

Application of AI in Legal Practice: “locus standi & AI”

—Akash Manwani and Riddhi Pawar Artificial Intelligence and Data Protection—Sowmya Damodaran

AI and its Criminal Liability

—Sadaf Fahim About the Contributors.


Buy the Book here: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

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Supreme Court of India is organising a programme to mark the celebrations of the momentous event of Constitution Day on 26th November, 2019.

On this occasion ‘Indian Judiciary: Annual Report 2018-­2019’ will be presented to Hon’ble the President of India. The Annual Report published by the Supreme Court of India showcases the initiatives and achievements of the entire Indian Judiciary, including the Supreme Court of India and 25 High Courts with Subordinate Courts under their jurisdiction, on one platform for information and reference.

Official Multilingual Mobile App. of the Supreme Court of India, developed with the technical consultation of the National Informatics Centre will also be launched. It will be available for download on the website of the Supreme Court and would provide authentic real-time access to Case Status, Display Board, Daily Orders, Judgments, Office Reports, Circulars and several other useful information for Lawyers, Litigants and citizens. This App., as of now, will be available in English, Hindi and six regional language scripts.

The ‘Supreme Court Vidhik Anuvaad Software’ short-termed as ‘SUVAS’ shall also be presented to Hon’ble the President of India, on this occasion. SUVAS is a machine-assisted translation tool trained by Artificial Intelligence. This Tool is especially designed for Judicial Domain and at present, has the capacity and capability of translating English Judicial documents, Orders or Judgments into nine vernacular languages scripts and vice versa. This is the first step towards the introduction of Artificial Intelligence in Judicial Domain.

*Link to the press release — PRESS RELEASE


Supreme Court of India

[Press Release dt. 25-11-2019]

Hot Off The PressNews

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has launched a new artificial intelligence (AI)-powered image search technology that makes it faster and easier to establish the distinctiveness of a trademark in a target market.

Earlier-generation image search tools primarily determine trademark image similarity by identifying shapes and colors in marks. WIPO’s new AI-based technology improves on this technology by using deep machine learning to identify combinations of concepts – such as an apple, an eagle, a tree, a crown, a car, a star – within an image to find similar marks that have previously been registered.

The new technology results in a narrower and more precise group of potentially similar marks, facilitating greater certainty in strategic planning for brand expansion into new markets. With fewer results to scrutinize, this also translates into labor-cost savings for trademark examiners, attorneys and paralegals, industry practitioners and researchers.

WIPO’s new AI search technology leverages deep neural networks and figurative elements classification data from the Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks and from large trademark offices.

All users can access the AI search technology for free through WIPO’s Global Brand Database, where it has been fully integrated into the database search engine.


[Press Release dt. 26-03-2019]

[Source: WIPO]

Op EdsOP. ED.

“Digital technologies are doing for human brainpower what the steam engine and related technologies did for human muscle power during the Industrial Revolution. They are allowing us to overcome many limitations rapidly and to open up new frontiers with unprecedented speed.  It is a very big deal. But how exactly it will play out is uncertain.”

— Andrew McAfee

What are the Major Trends in Digital Technology (DT)

Due to the ripening of digital technologies, the society en bloc is undergoing a fast and radical transformation. To add to the increased demand from customers, companies are facing ever tougher competition due to globalisation and putting pressure to go digital before others do, seeking to survive and attain competitive advantages.

Hence, in recent years “born digital” pioneers (e.g., Amazon, Facebook and Google) have grown into powerful behemoths, while companies that long dominated their industries found their traditional value proposition under threat.[1]

Further to be added that every computing device [which has five basic components: (a) integrated circuits; (b) memory; (c) network systems; (d) software applications; and (e) sensors] is undergoing changes which humans cannot absorb. The biggest concern is what happens next? How could we legislate technology, we neither understand nor can predict its legal application/misapplication?

What will the Digital Technology Innovation Ecosystem Look Like in the Next Ten Years

In the impending ten years, the computer will eventually disappear, and will be everywhere but invisible (IOT). Music was the first industry to be digitised. Now it is media. Tomorrow, it is education, banking, medicine and transportation, etc. The table below explains the scenario is as follows:

Mature Emerging Futuristic

(i) Enterprise systems

(ii) Internet

(iii) Social Media and digital platforms

(iv) Mobile endpoint devices and Apps

(i) Cloud computing

(ii) Big data analytics

(iii) 3D printing/additive manufacturing

(iv) Algorithmic automation

(v) Sensors and the internet of things

(vi) Driverless vehicles and autonomous things

 

(i) Commercial drones

(ii) Artificial intelligence and cognitive computing

(iii) Blockchain, smart contracts

(iv) Conversational computing

(v) Virtual assistance

(vi) Virtual reality and augmented reality

(vii) Social robotics

(viii) Quantum computing

(ix) Human augmentation/brain-computer interfaces

Big Data: The New Gold Mine

Big data relates to large data. Big data challenges include capturing data, data storage, data analysis, search, sharing, transfer, visualisation, querying, updating, privacy and data source. Currently, the term “big data” tends to refer to the use of predictive analytics, user behaviour analytics, or certain other advanced data analytics methods that extract value from data.

Analysis of data sets can find new correlations to spot business trends, prevent diseases, combat crime and so on. Researchers, scientists, business executives, practitioners of medicine, and governments alike regularly need to mine and understand large data sets in areas including urban informatics and business informatics.

Challenges to Intellectual  Property (IP) Law in “DT” Innovation

3D printing—3D printing could be a problem for patent-holders as its enforcement will be hard due to dispersed infringers. Only by simply removing the mark the 3D printing could overcome trade mark or trade dress. The jurisprudence is not conventional as case laws and legislation needs to be developed to manage 3D products/services. Moreover, the copyright system itself is not ready to respond to the challenges posed by DT acceleration. Also, patent law doctrines will be disrupted and may need to undergo certain legislative changes.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Businesses are increasingly interested in protecting their investments in the development of AI. Due to low cost, high-capacity storage and computing power, and the ubiquity of sensors that capture data of all types, companies are adding AI features to existing products and creating entirely new product offerings based on AI.

The world of “big data” has created both the availability of robust training sets used to develop AI technology and a need for technology that can process and filter large volumes of data for business applications. Recognising the need to protect the value of their investment in AI, companies are increasingly securing IP protection. The Patent and Trade Mark Office (PTO), for example, has seen a 500 per cent increase in the past five years in the number of patents issuing to Class 706, a classification exclusively designated for AI data processing systems.

Currently, inventors are individuals. But what if an AI-enabled machine invents something? What if an AI algorithm — without any human intervention — develops a new drug, a method of recognising diseases in medical images, or a new blade shape for a turbine? Section 100(f) of the Patent Act, 35 USCA Section 100(f) defines “inventor.” The legislative history of that section indicates that Congress intended statutory subject matter to “include anything under the sun that is made by man”, according to the US Supreme Court.[2] Accordingly, perhaps Congress, and not the courts, may have to make changes to existing patent law to address potentially patentable subject-matter developed autonomously by AI.

Underlying the patent laws is a contractual consideration. In exchange for a limited monopoly via a grant to exclude others from practising the claimed invention, an inventor must disclose to the public enough information about the invention to enable one of ordinary skills in the art to practice what is claimed.

Given the nature of some AI inventions, meeting this requirement can be challenging. For example, when seeking protection for rule-based AI systems, a research team may have developed rule sets that are effective for a specific application. Patent claims directed to a broader scope of application may not be enabled by the rules developed. Disclosing only those specific rules may not satisfy the disclosure obligations of Section 112 of the Patent Act, 35 USCA Section 112.

Similarly, the performance of AI embodied in artificial neural networks can depend on network topology, which can include the number and types of layers, the number of neurons per layer, neuron properties, training algorithms and training data sets. The scope of the claims will depend on what the limited set of topologies disclosed in the patent teaches one skilled in the art to practice.

In both the rule-based and network-based systems described above, where the systems have been developed heuristically, there may be questions regarding whether the patent discloses generalisations necessary to support the desired claim scope. There could be millions of permutations of the network architecture or rules adaptable for various applications.

Disclosing only a few and trying to define a broad claim scope may introduce risks. Providing a comprehensive disclosure laying out many embodiments may reduce some risk. But practically, how many can and should be disclosed? This is an area where guidance may come from the pharmaceutical arts, which may aid in an understanding of the bounds of patent disclosure and written description requirements.

Under Section 101 of the Patent Act, 35 US CA Section 101, the subject-matter of a patent claim must be directed to a “process, machine, manufacture or composition of matter”. However, the US Supreme Court held[3], that claims directed to nothing more than an abstract idea, such as a mathematical algorithm, or to natural phenomena or a law of nature are not eligible for patent protection. The technology underlying AI is generally based on computer programming or hardware implementing mathematical models, deep learning algorithms or a neural network. An improperly drafted patent application directed to AI may fall within this judicially recognised exception to patent-eligible subject-matter.

In Alice Corpn. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International[4], the Supreme Court provided the framework for determining “whether the claims at issue are directed to a patent-ineligible concept”. If the claims are, then the elements of all claims must be examined “to determine whether (they contain) an ‘inventive concept’ sufficient to ‘transform’ the claimed abstract idea into a patent-eligible application.”[5]

The US PTO expressly recognises that AI can be patentable through the express designation of Class 706, a section of the agency’s patent application classification system. In addition, two PTO “examining art units” for reviewing prior art are specifically devoted to reviewing applications directed toward AI algorithms.

Copyrights can be used as another form of protecting AI, because AI software can be copyrightable. In Synopsys Inc. v. ATopTech Inc.[6] Synopsys had patents directed to static timing analysis but instead relied exclusively on its copyrights of the software to secure a jury award of over $30 million based on ATopTech’s alleged infringement of Synopsys’ copyright.

Whether AI that is capable of generating copyrightable material can obtain a copyright is a different matter. A District Court recently found that a monkey had no rights to his selfie because the current copyright statute as interpreted affords rights to humans, not animals. This case demonstrates that future legislation would likely be required to allow animals, or AI for that matter, to obtain copyright protection.

AI and the IP issues it presents are continuing to evolve, creating a new frontier for businesses, governments, academicians and legislators. We need to consider changes in the law to employ the appropriate legal strategies to guide them as they deploy and protect AI-based innovations.

What can India do to Compete in the DT Space? Problems and Solutions

World Bank data estimates 69% of today’s jobs in India are threatened by AI-driven automation.  China’s figure is 77%. Still, robots replacing jobs en masse is unrealistic in the medium term in India (or anywhere else) but the effects are already being felt. Last September, Indian textiles giant Raymond said it would replace 10,000 jobs with robots over three years. India lags well behind the developed world on labour productivity, which acts as a major drag on growth. We have to automate to be globally competent.  Infrastructure supports productivity enabling to compete globally. The jobs of the future will focus on skills like critical thinking, collaboration and creativity. In this India’s education system also has a major role to be played, therefore it must prepare young people to participate and lead in the global DT industry.

Although the scenario has changed and India has realised that the Date is GOLD! India looks to “level playing field” with US tech giants.  Indian lawmakers are looking for ways to curb the power of US tech giants with draft rules calling for companies to store local user data in India with the information accessible to the Government. The Wall Street Journal viewed a draft of a new e-commerce policy calling for a “level playing field” with rules for “encouraging domestic innovation and boosting the domestic digital economy to find its rightful place with dominant and potentially non-competitive global players”.[7]

Indian policymakers are looking for ways to tamp down American tech behemoths, a shift that could crimp growth potential in one of the biggest remaining open markets for their expansion. India wants to slap new rules on Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Facebook Inc. and other firms, using a page from China’s playbook to take control of its citizens’ data and shelter homegrown startups. Lastly, in today’s DT space, India must develop indigenous capabilities in DT research involving all fields and build human capabilities in AI.

 


*Vaishali Singh is Research Associate, GNLU-Microsoft IPR Chair, Gujarat National Law University.

[1]  See,?<https://www.researchgate.net/publication/310790993_Synergy_for_Digital_Transformation_Person’s_Multiple_Roles_and_Subject_Domains_Integration>.

[2]    Diamond v. M. Chakrabarty, 1980 SCC OnLine US SC 128 : 65 L Ed 2d 144  : 447 US 303 (1980).

[3]    Diamond v.  R. Diehr, 1981 SCC OnLine US SC 41: 67 L Ed 2d 155: 450 US 175 (1981).

[4]    134 S. Ct. 2347.

[5]    Ibid.

[6]    13–cv–02965–MMC(DMR).

[7]    See, <https://seekingalpha.com/news/3382109-wsj-india-looks-level-playing-field-u-s-tech-giants>

GNLU
Conference/Seminars/LecturesLaw School News

GNLU Centre for IPR in collaboration with its industry partner Intellectual Property Protection Organization (IPPO) invites all interested faculty members and students to a Special Lecture titled ‘Intellectual Property and Artificial Intelligence’ by Mr. Gregory Maurer- Partner, Klarquist, USA. Mr. Maurer’s practice focuses on the preparation and prosecution of computer-related and bioinformatics patent applications, open source software, and intellectual property counselling.
The lecture will be held on 25th January, 2019 at VITAN II, from 02:00 P.M. to 04:00 P.M.
Conference/Seminars/LecturesLaw School News

Gujarat National Law University,  in collaboration with UNCITRAL,  Regional Center for Asia and the Pacific, towards the celebration of 2018 UNCITRAL Asia Pacific Day is organizing a Symposium on “Artificial Intelligence in the Digital Age: Issues and Challenges” on 15th December 2018 at GNLU.

Resource Person:

  • Shri. Amit Bhardwaj, National Institution for Transforming India, NITI Aayog, Government of India; and
  • Dr. Vipin Aggarwal, Principal at VBA Associates

Date: 15th December, 2018

Time: 10.00 AM to 12:30 PM

Venue: Vitan II, Administrative Building, GNLU

For more details, refer 2018 UNCITRAL ASIA PACIFIC DAY

Hot Off The PressNews

A Task Force on Artificial Intelligence (AI) for India’s Economic Transformation was constituted on 24th August 2017 which submitted its report on 19th January 2018. It has recommended for an Inter-Ministerial National Artificial Intelligence Mission to act as a nodal agency for coordinating AI related activities in India.

In the meeting of Committee of Secretaries held on 8th February, 2018, NITI Aayog was tasked with formulation of a National Strategy Plan for AI in consultation with Ministries and Departments concerned, academia and private sector. NITI Aayog has prepared and placed on its website on 4th June 2018 a discussion paper on National Strategy on Artificial Intelligence identifying following five sectors to be focused upon: Healthcare, Agriculture, Education, Smart Cities and Infrastructure, Smart Mobility and Transportation.

In order to create a policy framework and to develop the ecosystem for Artificial Intelligence, Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology, has constituted four committees covering all the aspects of AI. These Committees are:

  1. Committee on platforms and data for AI
  2. Committee on leveraging AI for identifying National Missions in key sectors
  3. Committee on mapping technological capabilities, key policy enablers, skilling, re-skilling and R&D
  4. Committee on cybersecurity, safety, legal and ethical issues.

Ministry of Commerce & Industry

Op EdsOP. ED.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not a new concept, especially to the readers of science fiction. In recent times however, it is becoming more science and less fiction. The world of technology is changing rapidly, and Artificial Intelligence systems have been gaining widespread momentum. With sophisticated technologies being incorporated in the same, it is only a matter of time these systems start to produce marvellous inventions without human intervention of any kind. AI, simply put, is the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent behaviour. It is an umbrella term that refers to information systems inspired by biological systems, and encompasses multiple technologies including machine learning, deep learning, computer vision, natural language processing (NLP) machine reasoning, and strong AI.[1]

Most definitions of Artificial Intelligence in the standard texts are overly complex for a general survey of the field, so here is a simple one that will suffice instead: Artificial Intelligence is the science of mimicking human mental faculties in a computer.

Modern definitions:

Artificial Intelligence refers to the ability of a computer or a computer-enabled robotic system to process information and produce outcomes in a manner similar to the thought process of humans in learning, decision-making and solving problems.

 

                                                                           Figure 1[2]

Artificial Intelligence and IP law

The intellectual property (IP) industry is the most noteworthy market where AI could have a profound effect. With the clear visibility of remarkable extent of creativity and knowledge exhibited by AI, concerns pertaining to IP protection ought to be there in the minds of those enforcing the rights associated with the intellectual property. On this it is required to go on to the more deliberative end of the copyright debate in connection with AI solutions and the relation of patent laws with AI systems.

A draft report of the European Parliament to the Commission on Civil Law Rules on Robotics[3] mentions that in the future, AI will leave no stratum of the society untouched and also calls on the Commission to elaborate criteria for an “own intellectual creation” for copyrightable works produced through AI. Now, there are machines which automatically create works which would qualify for a copyright protection, if it were produced by a human. There have been several high degree computational creative innovations until now and this has sparked debates all over the world for the re-examination of copyright standards for AIs. Recently, a San Francisco Court denied a copyright to a macaque monkey who clicked selfies which went viral. With copyrights for animals out of the picture now, a similar situation has arisen for AIs. Recently, many copyright offices across the world have already mentioned that they would not register machine produced works. Similarly, under patent law, if novel inventions are made by AI machines, issues may arise regarding the ownership of such inventions. Without any human intervention, who will own the patents on novel inventions filed by AI machines? Will the machine/robot be the owner of future inventions? When ownership rights are distributed amongst different entities, who will be able to enforce such rights. And if an AI plagiarises a creation or reproduces an invention, how will damages be determined? These are a few basic but puzzling questions which patent laws now face.[4] With the monumental growth of AIs in every industry of the market, it is incumbent upon IP theorists and lawmakers to design laws which can be adopted in a world with AIs.[5]

Position in India

There is a wide variety of intellectual property legislations which would impact/affect the functioning of AI in India. Such legislations are discussed in detail below.

A. Copyright

Indian Copyright law requires that in order for a “work” to qualify for copyright protection, it would firstly have to meet the “modicum of creativity” standard laid down in Eastern Book Co. v. D.B. Modak[6]. From a reading of the test laid down in the aforementioned judgment however, there is no definitive conclusion that may have arrived at wherein it may be stated that an AI cannot meet the “modicum of creativity” as required.

In addition to the above, the second requirement to be satisfied by an AI when it comes to the ownership of copyrighted works is the requirement to fall under the aegis of an “author” as is defined under the Copyright Act, 1957. This would be problematic as an AI has generally been regarded to not have a legal personality. Under Section 2(d) of the Copyright Act, 1957:

2.(d) “author” means,—

(vi) in relation to any literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work which is computer-generated, the person who causes the work to be created;”

The first issue under the above mentioned definition is its usage of the terms “the person who causes the work to be created”. Determining who “causes” a work to be created is a question of the proximity of a natural or legal person to the creation of the “expression” in the content in question — the more closely or directly a person is involved in creating the “expression”, the more he or she contributes to it, and the more likely he or she is to qualify as a person “who causes the work to be created”. As a result of the above, the current legal framework under the Copyright Act, 1957 may not effectively deal with/prescribe for creation of works where the actual creator or a contributor of the “expression” is not a human or a legal person. Thus, when it comes to works that are created by AI, their authorship would be contentious under Indian copyright laws.[7]

B. Patents

Section 6 of the Patents Act, 1970 states that an application for a patent for any invention can be made only by the true and first inventor of the invention or the persons provided upon request only assigned by such person. Whereas, Section 2(y) of the Act confines the definition of “true and first inventor” to the extent of excluding the first importer of an invention into India, or a person to whom an invention is first communicated outside India, and nothing further. These provisions do not expressly impose the requirement of an inventor to be a natural person. Therefore, from a bare reading of these provisions, it may be interpreted that an AI may fall under the definition of an inventor as provided in Section 2(y) of the Patents Act, 1970. However, in practice the “true and first inventor” is always assumed to be a natural person. Thus, it will be interesting to track the jurisprudence on this front especially the stand taken by the patent office when the “true and first inventor” on the patent application form is not a natural person. However, AI will certainly play an important role in the evolution of patent law itself. Sophisticated use of natural language processing has been adopted in generating variants of existing patent claims so as to enlarge the invention’s scope. The publication of these patent claims using such technology would help preclude obvious and easily derived ideas from being patented as they will form the corpus of the prior art that is available in public domain. If the trend of using such services gains a foothold in the industry, it will substantially increase the uncertainty associated with the enforceability of a patent as the risk of not discovering prior art that invalidates the patent would increase. As a result, it could be anticipated that AI would be developed to assist in discovery of prior art and correspondingly this would certainly increase the demand of AI (from a patent law perspective) in this sector.[8]

AI and IP law: A way frontward

With decades of R&D, IBM’s AI engine Watson, is now capable of detecting a type of cancer in just 10 minutes and this once helped save a person’s life. It was said that the same would have gone undetected under conventional diagnosis methods. From autocorrecting our text messages to saving people’s lives, AI has only begun influencing our lives in a great way. But IP laws are far from matching the progress being made in AIs. Currently IP law focusses only on human actors as IP creators/infringers. It is time now, for policymakers to come up with standards and liability criteria when it comes to IP surrounding AIs. It will also be interesting to see how IP sharing works in the AI realm. It is also believed that the future of many industries depend on AIs and therefore, IP sharing will be a crucial aspect of the overall development agenda and sustainability. The AIs will slowly become a part of every imaginable industry and even though the European Commission has taken baby steps in raising questions over IP laws for AIs, the future is full of intriguing prospects for innovators and businessmen, alike.

Conclusion

The penetration of self-driven cars, robots and fully-automated machines, which are currently being used in various economies around the world, is only expected to increase with the passage of time. As a result, the dependency of entities and individuals on AI systems is also expected to increase proportionately. Whilst addressing the position of Artificial Intelligence, it would be imperative that the regulators undertake a reasonable and balanced approach. A positive step towards the recognition of AIs could be that, all member countries of multilateral trading forums begin to recognise the same, for instance, in the form of an amendment to Trips.  The AIs today perform human like functions in every sphere. It would not be amusing if, tomorrow they can perform functions better than humans and take their decisions themselves. To keep a track of the same, a legislation governing AIs should be drafted, to provide for guidance/clarity as to the rights and obligations of programmers or creators of AI systems, in order to crystallise the broad ethical standards to which they are required to abide to whilst programming/creating AI and robotics systems. Due to the lack of legal jurisprudence on this subject, it is hoped that in the near future legal and tax principles are established which will not only foster the development of AI but also ensure that the necessary safeguards are in place.

 

* Vaishali Singh is Research Associate, GNLU-Microsoft IPR Chair, Gujarat National Law University.

[1]    Raquel Acosta, Artificial Intelligence and Authorship Rights, Harvard Journal of Law and Technology (17-2-2012), available at: <http://jolt.law.harvard.edu/digest/copyright/artificial-intelligence-and-authorship-rights>.

[2]    PWC analysis, available at <https://www.pwc.in/publications/2017/artificial-intelligence-and-robotics-2017.html>.

[3]    See <http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/ATAG/2017/599250/EPRS_ATA(2017)599250_EN.pdf>.

[4]    Mailer, Artificial Intelligence & Intellectual Property Rights, October 2016  available at <www.clairvolex.com>.

[5]    R. Kurzweil, The Age of Intelligent Machines, 272-275 (MIT Press: 1990).

[6]   (2008) 1 SCC 1.

[7]   Final Report of the National Commission on New Technological Uses of Copyrighted Works 4 (1978), available at <http://eric.ed.govPDFS/ED160122.pdf>.

[8] Office Order No. 36(2017), Intellectual Property Office (India), <http://www.ipindia.nic.in/writereaddata/Portal/Images/pdf/Office_Order_No_36_of_2017_for_Revised__Guidelines_for_Examination_of_CRIs.pdf>; Balaji Subramanian, Patent Office Reboots CRI Guidelines Yet Again: Removes “novel Hardware” Requirement, SpicyIP, <https://spicyip.com/2017/07/patent-office-reboots-cri-guidelines-yet-again-removes-novel-hardware-requirement.html>.

NewsTreaties/Conventions/International Agreements

Aiming to foster growth for India’s nascent artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) ecosystem, NITI Aayog and Google have come together to work on a range of initiatives to help build the AI ecosystem across the country and. To focus on training, hackathons, mentoring startups, and providing research grants, a Statement of Intent (SoI) was signed to this effect by NITI Aayog and Google. The NITI Aayog has been entrusted to setup a national programme to conduct research and development in frontier technologies such as AI. In furtherance of this mandate, NITI Aayog has been developing India’s national strategy on AI along with the National Data and Analytics Portal to enable the wide deployment and use of AI. Artificial Intelligence is going to disrupt the way business is done and India, in particular, is uniquely poised in utilising AI to innovate for social and inclusive good. India is embracing future technologies such as machine learning and AI to augment its capacity in healthcare, improve outcomes in education, develop innovative governance systems for our citizens and improve overall economic productivity of the nation. This partnership with Google will unlock massive training initiatives, support startups and encourage AI research through PhD scholarships, all of which contributes to the larger idea of a technologically-empowered New India. Under the aegis of this program, Google will train and incubate Indian AI startups in an accelerator program. These startups will be mentored and coached by Google and its affiliates to enable them to better leverage AI in their respective business models. To help bolster the research ecosystem, one of the initiatives includes funding Indian researchers, scholars and university faculty for conducting AI-based research. Further, Google will also bring its online training courses on AI to students, graduates and engineers to numerous cities across India, in the form of study groups and developer-run courses. NITI Aayog and Google will organize a AI/ML hackathon that will be focused on solving key challenges within agriculture, education, healthcare, financial inclusion, transportation/mobility and more. This hackathon may use Kaggle, a global platform, to help facilitate international participation into these planned hackathon challenges. Google through the NITI Aayog, will conduct hands-on training programs that aim to sensitise policymakers and technical experts in governments about relevant AI tools, and how they can be used to streamline governance.

Google and NITI Aayog will work on the following initiatives

  • Organise trainings for relevant government functionaries to introduce them to open source AI tools with the goal of enabling more effective governance.
  • Awarding grants and scholarships to researchers, scholars and university faculty conducting cutting edge research in the field of AI/ML in India.
  • Organising AI/ML study jams for students and developers based on Google’s Machine Learning Crash Course (MLCC) on the fundamentals of machine learning.
  • Incubating Indian AI/ML startups in a program where they will be mentored by Google to better leverage AI in their respective business models.
  • Organise a hackathon focused on using AI/ML and open data sets to solve key challenges within agriculture, education, healthcare, etc. in India

[Press Release no. 1531504]

NITI Aayog