Intellectual Property News Recap

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Interesting and Relevant IP-Related News


Toyota Playing the Long Game with AI

Toyota Research Institute puts $35M into AI-powered materials research

Toyota Fuel Cell Vehicle

The Story

A recent Tech Crunch article by Darrell Etherington lays out the relevance of a $35 million investment in AI by the Toyota Research Institute (TRI). Energy use and storage are highly important for making autonomous vehicles a reality and AI has the potential to help solve difficult problems through improved use of data and simulation. According to TRI’s Chief Science Officer Eric Krotkov –

“This is a long-term project addressing some very fundamental scientific questions and we’re going to be publishing articles in scientific journals and trying to reproduce some of the results that the various partners achieve, and just applying the scientific method. This is a long-term project.”

Why it Matters
As we noted in our recent article on AI, the technology needed to make AI a reality has matured to the point where real-world applications are starting to take shape. This investment is an example of the potential AI has for playing an integral part in solving long-standing problems through improved data analysis.


2016 a Record Year for International Patent Applications

China behind the major growth

China IP filing up

The Story

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) announced 2016 as a record-breaking year for international patent applications filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). The PCT allows applicants to file one international application that enables them to simultaneously seek protection for an invention in a very large number of countries. China is behind the current rise in applications and illustrates their changing view on innovation.

Why it Matters
According to WIPO Director General Francis Gurry, “In an interlinked, knowledge-based global economy, creators and innovators are increasingly relying on intellectual property to promote and protect their competitive edge around the world.China-based filers are behind much of the growth in international patent and trademark filings, making great strides in internationalizing their businesses as the country continues its journey from ‘Made in China’ to ‘Created in China’.” Chinese companies have also been very active in buying to rights to overseas companies. It appears the government supported efforts to boost patent filing in China initiated five years ago is working.


Pokémon Go IP

Who’s the master of the IP Virtual reality space?

Pokemon GO IP

The Story

Dr. Andres Guadamuz, Senior Lecturer in Intellectual Property Law at the University of Sussex, UK recently provided WIPO Magazine with an article on the legal IP implications of Pokémon Go. As one of the first successful mainstream examples of augmented reality (AR), Pokémon Go, has raised a lot of legal questions around content ownership and the role of AR. When users upload content, Niantic, the developer of Pokémon Go, can use that content however they like and profit off it without having to pay the person who provided the content. There are also issues around geo-location, personal property rights and ownership of user data.

Why it Matters

As Dr. Andres Guadamuz states – “History shows that IP law changes in response to technological developments. Games like Pokémon Go offer a glimpse of the shape of things to come and are likely, once again, to test the flexibility of IP law in the future.” From our perspective, topics like the role of IP in AR are a perfect example of why a business should fully understand what their IP encompasses and all the details they should be aware of.


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