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KnowIt comes to Las Vegas

KnowIt: Intellectual Property in a Digital World will be held at Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas between May 11-14. It will cover a number of panel discussions on various IP issues including AI, privacy and the ethics of innovation

KnowIt: Intellectual Property in a Digital World will be held between May 11-14 at Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. The event is aimed at both those who protect IP and those who create it and will draw a versatile crowd encompassing academics, authors, inventors and brand creators. KnowIt provides a useful opportunity to connect and network with people from different fields. Panels will discuss an array of issues connected to IP, including patents and innovation in the past, present and future, the ethics of innovation and the survival of trademarks in an increasingly mechanised world. Information on some of the key sessions is provided below.

The patent bargain: innovation’s past, present and future

This session will discuss “the original patent bargain” and its evolution. The initial “patent bargain” was between an inventor and society. This agreement allowed inventors a temporary market monopoly in return for sharing a significant scientific development with others. This has led to many years of innovation. However, recently patents have been under threat from a range of factors including PTAB challenges, litigation cost shifting, and a haziness around what is patentable. The future also seems riddled with patent complications. For example, what happens when an inventor creates AI technology which generates its own inventions? This topic will be debated by creators and protectors of IP in what promises to be a fascinating panel discussion.

Will trademarks survive the rise of the machines?

A trademark identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. Will this source identifying function still be relevant in a world where AI can remove humans from much of the product selection and purchasing process? The future use of AI could essentially limit the effectiveness of the brand as an identifier, and would require us to rethink many of the classic principles of trademark law (for example, likelihood of “consumer” confusion). Even if humans still direct purchasing decisions, questions remain around issues that could impact a consumer’s emotional attachment to a brand, such as the lack of visual branding when voice shopping.

AI is being trained using human creative output. Is that fair?

Human creations are being used to train AI. For example, an IBM AI was trained to recognise faces through photographs created by humans taken from Flickr. This raises questions about copyright and fairness. Should a company that has used material protected by copyright to train AI compensate or ask permission from the right holder? Alternatively, does this constitute fair use? If it does not qualify as fair use, how does one go about seeking the consent of so many creators? This topic is also connected to other issues raised by AI, such as universal basic income and robot taxes.

States take the lead on privacy

The US is in the process of reviewing its stance on privacy and the recent enactment of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is an example of this. The act requires increased transparency in the way companies collect, use and share data. This piece of legislation, though in no way identical, has similarities with GDPR rules in the EU. Other states in the US have also contemplated introducing privacy laws, and there are indications that a federal law on the issue may be introduced. This panel will discuss the best way for the US to progress in the realm of privacy.

The ethics of innovation

This fascinating panel discussion focuses on the ethics surrounding AI. A number of recent incidents raise questions about whether, just because we have the capacity to create such an advanced technology, we should develop it. For example, in 2017, Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence Research team carried out experiments with AI systems that could communicate with humans and discovered that the chatbots were communicating with one another in a language they had invented themselves. The panel will focus on what protocols and rules might be necessary when innovating.

Is intellectual property ready for prime time in the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

In a time where ideas and innovation have increasing value, intellectual property is a more pertinent issue than ever before. This discussion will deal with the myriad questions raised by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The following are some of the topics under debate:

·        Is the patent system ready for further FRAND wars and the interoperability issues raised by the IoT?

·        Is copyright the correct medium through which to protect software and AI?

Join this panel to grapple with some of the key issues facing IP today.

KnowIt: Who’s who

Cheryl Slipski is the founder and CEO of KnowIt. She was an intellectual property lawyer for many years, then spent several years as general counsel of a payments company, before moving into a business role with Google. Prior to founding KnowIt, she was the CEO of Ubiquity Compliance Solutions, a company focused on solving the challenges caused by fraud in Fintech. 

Anil D Aggarwal and Simran Rekhi Aggarwal have co-founded KnowIt with Slipski. They have previously been responsible for key retail and fintech events such as Shoptalk and Money2020.

For more information about the event, please visit

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