Artificial Intelligence (AI) Patentability in the Middle East

By ways of introduction, the main question to be raised in relation to AI patentability is how will the future of Intellectual Property be with the initiation of AI innovations and what are the consequences in the Middle East?

Since AI is a new field especially in the Middle East, very few are aware about how AI providers shall protect their IP assets. Let alone that in the Middle East, no record of an information technology developer attempting to patent an AI innovation because the concerned parties may consequently fall under the risk to lose some of the valuable IP.

With the use of quantum computing, AI will evolve more rapidly. Although machines are away from achieving the level of human intelligence, by the use of quantum computing, then AI may be able to self-improve and self-learn and may be able to produce many years of human’s intellectual work and to develop new technologies or innovations.
It should be noted that an AI’s standalone algorithms and codes are not attenable in the Middle East; especially in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Instead, IT developers must secure the copyright to newly written codes if they want to protect the IP in them.
On the other hand, it should be noted that patentability of AI greatly depends on the functionality of the software. Thus, the system or architecture of the software within which the algorithms work together and what rules and mechanisms apply would be at the core of the patent in question.
In light of the above, considerations will be made in terms of copyright, patent protection and trade secrets. This will enable developers and investors to realize the best routes to acquiring the most robust means of IP protection..
From the technical point of view, i.e. the Patentability; it is necessary to consider the excluded subject matter, namely mathematical methods and computer programs and business methods and program codes which are not patentable.

For the above exclusion, it is a must to determine whether (1) the subject matter is directed to a technical matter or not and this issue is straightforward to overcome where the patent claim includes apparatus features such as a computer server, or where a method claim is directed to a “computer-implemented method” OR (2) the invention be directed towards a non-obvious technical solution of a technical problem. In this regard, only features which contribute to the technical character of the invention are taken into account, so that the second point is difficult to pass where many of the features of the patent claim relate to features which are considered non-technical, such as administrative features, or business method features. Accordingly, AI-related innovations must be claimed as being developed for a specific implementation (technical purpose).

In other words, the AI inventions, to be patentable, it must be claimed as a system, unit, or device to perform a certain scheme taking into consideration the availability of the patentability requirements (Novelty, Inventive Step and Industrial applicability of the claimed invention), while if it is described or claimed as computer programs, software or algorithms, then it can not be patented.


     Written by Shadya Awad “IP specialist “





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