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Race To Patent Your AI Innovations: Strategize With Your IP Attorney And File PPAs Quickly

by | Jan 19, 2024 | 0 comments


With artificial intelligence (AI) usage accelerating exponentially across industries, many entrepreneurs find themselves in a gold rush to stake IP claims in this dynamic landscape. Companies are scrambling to file patents on machine learning, neural networks, natural language processing and other AI-driven technologies. The global AI software market is projected to reach $126 billion by 2025 as organizations continue to rapidly adopt these innovative technologies to transform products, services, and business operations.

However, with innovations building so rapidly on each other, the window for patenting key aspects of your AI systems may be very small indeed. That’s why it’s critical to move rapidly and get expert guidance even before or during development of your AI and machine learning innovations. As soon as you start work on an AI/ML project that demonstrates significant business value or differentiation, consult an intellectual property attorney experienced with these emerging technologies.

Getting input early in the design process can help shape an invention’s architecture for the strongest patent case down the road. The attorney can advise on the best timing for initial “provisional” patent filings (sometimes called “PPAs”) to establish priority dates on essential aspects of your invention, while still leaving flexibility for ongoing enhancement. Provisional applications provide an affordable and rapid way to get the earliest priority date on record for your invention before the 12-month deadline to file a complete non-provisional application. Given the exceedingly fast pace of advancement in AI, staking your claim as early as possible provides a competitive advantage.

Your attorney can also provide guidance on specifically what aspects of your AI/ML system to document in detail now for later patent applications. This includes specifics like model architecture, data flows, labeling techniques, training mechanisms, and other technical context to demonstrate the invention is rooted in a practical application rather than an abstract idea. Illustrating these types of technical specifics is key to overcoming 35 USC 101 patentability rejections which frequently arise in AI-related applications.

Here are some examples of strategy suggestions your IP attorney may provide:

Focus Claims on Technical Improvements

When drafting patent applications related to AI innovations, avoid broad functional claims around generic AI systems configured to perform a task. Instead, focus the claims as much as possible on the specific technical improvements contributed by your invention. Explain how the architecture of your AI/ML model is tailored in a novel, non-obvious way to enable those improvements. The technical advance could involve efficiency, accuracy, scalability, personalization or other benefits.

Provide Implementation Details

Supplement any high-level descriptions of AI/ML concepts with specifics on the actual implementations developed for your invention. For machine learning based inventions, disclose details on the model architecture, its specialized components, data flows, feature engineering techniques, etc. Providing this technical context helps establish that the claims are rooted in a practical application rather than an abstract idea, improving chances of overcoming 101 rejections.

Illustrate Training Data and Outputs

Patent applications related to AI, especially those involving generative models, often falter if the data flows are unclear or lack technical grounding. Use diagrams, figures and detailed written description to illustrate the relationships between training data, model components, and outputs produced by the invention. For generative AI innovations, clearly show how the outputs substantively reflect patterns, correlations or insights identified by the model across datasets.

Consider Both System and Process Claims

For the broadest protection and enforcement of your rights, draft claims as both a specialized AI/ML system with specified components and as a method or process outlining the steps for how that system operates. This two-pronged claiming approach helps protect your intellectual property even if components of the implementation change over time or as the technology evolves.

File Quickly, Enhance Later

With AI/ML breakthroughs hitting at lightning speed across the tech landscape, mere days or weeks can make the difference between owning key IP rights around an invention vs losing out to competitors. This is why it’s so critical to file your patent applications rapidly even if your development is still ongoing. For core aspects where your team has demonstrable innovation, file provisional applications right away to lock in that early priority date and buy more time to strengthen your IP.

Then as development progresses, you can submit one or more supplemental provisionals with additional data or implementation details to bolster the patents before final non-provisional filings. Relying on the original priority date from your provisionals, these continuation applications expand protection for your IP without high risk of new art emerging in your fast-moving domain.

Of course, all of this is much easier said than done without the battle-tested guidance of an expert. Even large enterprises with extensive resources struggle to keep pace with AI/ML innovation cycles, let alone identify and protect key IP within those cycles. This is why partnering with an experienced intellectual property attorney is mission critical.

How an IP Attorney Helps You Win the Patent Race

An IP attorney who specializes in artificial intelligence can be an invaluable asset as you map out patent filings to protect your AI/ML innovations. In sum, without reliable mechanisms to secure your intellectual property as AI upends the old order, disruptors may capitalize on your inventions before you do. Worse yet, imitators could quickly erode hard-won competitive advantage by copying with only superficial changes.

Don’t let that happen on your watch. Work with an IP attorney to start locking in air-tight claims around your vital AI/ML innovations through a smart filing strategy focused on speed. This will pay dividends for decades by fortifying your arsenal of protected IP assets as AI adoption continues accelerating exponentially. Remember, in the patent race around these revolutionary technologies, the early filer wins!


  • Jacob Ward

    Jacob “Jake” M. Ward is a registered patent attorney admitted to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office, in the State of Michigan, and before the United States District Court of...

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