Protecting AI Innovations Through Trade Secrets and Patent Protection
AI is becoming ubiquitous across all industries. AI systems and services are embedded in everyday products and services, including Amazon's Alexa, Netflix streaming services, and Nest smart thermostats. AI systems are also used behind-the-scenes to sift through applicant resumes, filter spam from email mailboxes, characterize medical conditions, match potential soulmates, and streamline online purchases. AI innovations provide many meaningful benefits to society as a whole, and in particular, increased efficiency and opportunities for economic growth in sectors including healthcare, finance, national security, and transportation.
In light of AI's rapid growth and potential benefits, it is increasingly imperative to protect AI innovations. Companies should take a diversified approach to protecting AI innovations, as some aspects may be suitable for (and maximized by) patent protection, while other aspects might be better suited to protection via trade secrets, copyright, or branding. There are challenges and potential obstacles to each form of IP protection, particularly with the evolving nature of protection and uncertain guidance. But there are also clear benefits to each form—hence the need for strategy and advice regarding how to best protect and enforce rights in such IP. This White Paper focuses on two increasingly common avenues for IP protection: patents and trade secrets.