The six hundred plus page final report of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence was released on March 1, 2021 (the “Report”). Chapter 12 considers IP-related issues.
The Report briefly documents the challenges posed by China’s high patenting environment and the difficulties of assessing patent quality, particularly in SEP’s where it has identified over-declaration as a continuing issue.
The Report also addresses uncertainties around patent-eligible subject matter. Among its proposals, the Report also calls for greater interagency coordination on IP-related aspects of AI, with an important role for the USPTO. The Report recommends that the President “should issue an executive order to recognize IP as a national priority and require the development of a comprehensive plan to reform and create IP policies and regimes that further national security, economic interests, and technology competitiveness strategies.” This call for inter-agency coordination around technology is also found in many other recent transition paper proposals.
I periodically fielded questions from the staff of the NSCAI and provided citations for a number of their research concerns. I don’t, however, subscribe to much of the narrative around China’s IP threat, particularly in terms of the threat posed by excessive patenting in China impacting US innovation. I do believe that the Report’s recommendations are nonetheless generally sound.