Artificial Intelligence in Chile: Economic Potential and IP Protection
By Moeller IP Advisors
Artificial Intelligence technologies undisputedly represent the greatest potential for worldwide economies in the near future. Roughly speaking, Artificial Intelligence is a collection of advanced technologies that allow machines to sense, comprehend, act and learn. Cognitive robotics, machine learning, biometrics, robotic process automation and intelligent automation are just some of the various applications of AI technology.
Self-driving cars, translation softwares and intelligent assistants like Siri or Alexa are some of the most known examples of AI technologies already used today.
Artificial Intelligence’s Economy in Chile
According to a report published by the consulting firm, Accenture, last year, AI could add US$63 billion to Chile’s GVA in 2035.
Chile has a traditionally strong commodity-based industry, which could easily benefit from AI technologies. For instance, the Chilean mining giant Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, pioneered the adoption of autonomous trucks. The company has signed an agreement with the AI software developer DIAGNOS, about using a program that will help Codelco in identifying mining sites. In food production, the Chilean start-up The Not Company, is using AI-generated recipes to analyse the molecular composition of animal proteins and develop vegan food that tastes like animal products.
The University of Santiago, in 2016, developed a robot that can learn how to perform farming tasks, such as selectively applying herbicides.
Protecting Artificial Intelligence Innovations
Artificial Intelligence innovations and the corresponding investments in R&D need to be protected through adequate IP instruments.
Patents are certainly the first tool to legally defend complex AI technologies, like robots or machines. Complex robotics systems are based on a combination of hardware and software. There is little doubt that, in Chile, the hardware can be patented if it is novel, consists of an inventive step and can have industrial application.
On the other hand, patents are unavailable for certain types of AI. Under Chilean law, for instance, it is assumed that software are not patentable. Article 37(a) of the Chilean Industrial Property Law, number 19,039, prohibits patent protection to discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods; article 37(c) prohibits patentability of economic, financial, commercial systems, methods, principles or plans of simple verification and supervision and those referring to purely mental or intellectual activities or to games. As a result, it is generally considered that patent protection is not available to software.
Moreover, patents do not protect data compilations, like AI training sets or other types of proprietary information that may be competitively advantageous.
On the other hand, Chilean Copyright Law, No. 17336, expressly provides that software can be protected by copyright. The owner of the copyright is the creator of the software, unless the work was made under a labour contract, or requested by a third party: in this case, the copyright is owned by the party who ordered the work.
Failing the requirements for patentability or copyrightability, information like training sets, neural networks and other algorithms which are pivotal for the functioning of an AI system, can be protected as trade secrets.
The Chilean Industrial Property Law defines trade secrets as any confidential commercial or industrial information that confers a competitive advantage to the owner. In order to be granted protection as a trade secret, the information needs to be secret, it should have a commercial value because of its secrecy and finally, it must be “reasonably protected” by the owner.
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