Preview: WIPO director general predicts AI liability changes
Managing IP is part of Legal Benchmarking Limited, 4 Bouverie Street, London, EC4Y 8AX
Copyright © Legal Benchmarking Limited and its affiliated companies 2024

Accessibility | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Modern Slavery Statement

Preview: WIPO director general predicts AI liability changes


Francis Gurry says liability in the event of AI-related accidents could shift from traditional interpretations, and that he rejects the idea of affording patent protection to machine inventors


The director general of WIPO says that questions of liability for artificial intelligence should be linked to IP ownership as technological developments begin to change established laws.

Francis Gurry suggests in an interview with Managing IP that the onus could fall on creators and IP owners in situations where the traditional liable party is no longer part of the equation.

Pointing to driverless cars as a hypothetical example, Gurry says international conventions would usually point to liability in the event of an accident resting with the driver.

“Remove the driver, and who is responsible?” Gurry asks. “It’s a complex question and depends on what went wrong. The person who created the AI and put it into operation has the responsibility, I think.”  

Gurry spoke to Managing IP yesterday during the AI: Decoding IP conference in London.

He also says he does not see why traditional IP rights should be attributed to non-human entities, adding that liability and property rights should be connected in a future world.

“It is right that there should always be a human at the end of it,” he says. “Look at automated cars or drones, if you have a machine or algorithm organised in certain way and you attribute the rights resulting from that to a machine, what do you do if the drone or vehicle crashes into a primary school?

“Liability is connected with property rights.”

He adds that he does not see much appetite to attribute rights to machines from an innovation standpoint either: “Why do we attribute rights? One is the moral reason of giving just reward for someone who has created something. But the main reasons are economic, because we want to encourage others to develop innovation.”

The full interview, in which Gurry talks more about how to determine property rights in the AI world, how technology has improved patent and trademark filing systems, and how the use of data can be linked to IP, will be published on Managing IP next week.

more from across site and ros bottom lb

More from across our site

An intimate understanding of a client’s sector is essential to winning new business, a survey of over 28,000 corporate counsel reveals
Counsel say a Federal Circuit ruling on the obviousness test for design patents may increase the time IP owners spend defending their rights
While the INTA Annual Meeting is over for another year, here are a few things Managing IP learned after attending IP’s biggest party
We provide a rundown of Managing IP’s news and analysis from the week, and review what’s been happening elsewhere in IP
Four sources reveal which tools they have been using – or building – to help them with a range of tasks from invention generation to claim sufficiency
Managing IP reveals Wednesday's highlights, including a discussion on how AI is helping lawyers improve their "gut instinct" trademark decisions
Managing IP reveals Tuesday’s highlights, including an illuminating discussion celebrating women in the workplace and the challenges that remain
Dana Northcott, INTA’s 2024 president and associate general counsel for Amazon's IP team, talks about her work for the association
Managing IP reveals highlights from the INTA Annual Meeting, including law firms’ diversity and ESG concerns and a new beginning for a Chinese firm
Firms with a broad geographic reach are more likely to win work, especially from global companies with high turnovers, according to survey data of nearly 29,000 corporate counsel
Gift this article