Written by Simran Kaplish And Pratibha Dixit 
The fascinating world of robotics has changed our lives, following the different real-world applications including manufacturing, exploration and navigation, agricultural purposes, exoskeletons, search and rescue operations, assistant technology, replacements for people and a lot more. The industrial drift from Isaac Asimov’s concept of robotics to the world of industrial robotics, have brought in new rules regulations, complexities and developments. Today a robot can be used for doing surgery or for space exploration. Did you know in 1971, the Soviet union‘s Mars two became the first interplanetary robot that landed on the surface of Mars, though it had crashed later. We use robotic techniques in our day to day lives, the application of Google home; Apple Siri and Amazon echo are popular examples of robotics. Not only this, but various developments have also led to the formation of smart homes, where you just have to say and the work is done. Apart from this Microsoft, Amazon and Google are coming up with more new Upgradation. Microsoft office 365 can make calls and even receive business calls with the help of Microsoft teams. This application is used immensely today, in this period of COVID-19. Also, Google pixel bud can translate 40 languages in real-time. All of these applications are interesting and have made human life much easier and simpler. Robotics, the presumed science fiction world has bought in accuracy and consistency in human work. Robots are cheap and affordable, as they do not require monthly salaries or allowances. Robots tend to go beyond what is programmed within them, sometimes negatively.
Did you know about pepper, this was a robot developed by the Softbank robotics? It is a commercial service robot that can read emotions through expressions and voice. This robot has worked as a receptionist in various UK offices and various medical agencies in Japan. Not only this, but it has been employed in some Academic institutions also. Apart from this, the open bionics had created a 3D printed robotic hand that was controlled by EMG. The hand can be assembled in less than an hour. This technique detects and records all the electrical activities within skeletal muscles. NASA had sent a rover robot to Mars named curiosity. This robot had 17 cameras fitted within; it was used for Chemical analysis, x-ray spectrometry, navigation, radiation assessment and True Colour imaging. Nothing can be understood without indulging in its history.
Essentially, a robot is a programmable machine capable of moving in completion of a task. Robots use special coding that separates them from other machine and machine tools such as CNC. They are used in a wide range of industries due to their robust resistance capabilities and precision function. The first robots were developed in the early 1950s by George C. Devol, an inventor from Louisville, Kentucky. He invented and patented a reprogrammable manipulator called “Unimate” from “Universal automation”. Over the next decade, he tried to market his product in the industry but did not succeed. At the end of 1960s, businessman/engineer, Joseph Engerlberger acquired Davol’s robot patent and turned it into an industrial robot and set up a company named animation to manufacture and sell the robots. He is known in the industry as “father of robotics”. The first modern robots have been designed for programmed automation to speed up the industrial manufacturing processes. But robots have become fully autonomous systems that can operate and make decisions without human interventions.
The widely accepted definition of an industrial robot is developed by the Robotics Industries Association:
An industrial robot is a reprogrammable, multifunctional manipulator designed to move materials, parts, tools, or specialized devices through variable programmed motions for the performance of a variety of tasks.
Robotics is a field of technology that drives the development of robots, which has played a key role in automotive factories, construction sites, educational institutions, hospitals and private homes for decades. However, more recently, newer areas of research including AI and sensing, have merged with robotics to create advanced autonomous robots with many more possible applications. They are also increasingly used in agriculture, mining, transport, space and sea exploration, unmanned surveillance, health, education and many other fields. They will increase labour efficiency, reduce manufacturing costs and improve production costs and entirely new business models have arisen in the service sector. They often contribute to human well-being by reducing the need for strenuous or dangerous work by helping an aging population and making sustainable transport a reality.
Robotics Innovation System
It is concentrated in a limited number of countries and clusters typically centred on leading universities. Many of the robotics-related technologies and company start-ups are located in high-income countries except for China which hosts some of the fastest-growing robotic firms, such as DJI (a drone firm), Siasun and Estun. The robotics engineering system is highly competitive, research-innovation, collaborative and is increasingly becoming more complex. This includes the growing number of experts, academic institutions and technology-intensive firms, both large and small, and brings together know-how from a wide range of fields to produce ground-breaking technologies based on the latest developments in material science, motive power, control systems, sensing and computing. The collaborative complexity of robotics engineering is due to the highly complex challenges that are being posed. Companies also simply do not have all the requisite resources in-house and need to look outside to secure it. For instance, forming joint-development agreements with specialist robotics companies.
However, when it comes to robotics, India still lags behind Japan, South Korea, USA and China. There is still a long way to go but awareness is increasing and the market is slowly opening up in India as well. In automotive industries, they are used in electronics, food and packaging, education and banking sector for routine jobs.
TUSSLE BETWEEN ROBOTICS AND IP
As more players enter the robotics ecosystem and as innovation focuses on more advanced robotics, companies are increasingly turning to IP tools to safeguard their interests. As compared to the standard industrial robot innovation of the past, robotics innovation today involves more players, more technology fields and more patent filings. Patent protection can be particularly important in this field, given the capital-intensive nature of R&D before commercialization and the need for regulatory approval. This allows businesses to recover their investment and helps them achieve sustainable market advantage. A strong patent portfolio enables licensing and cross-licensing technology to strengthen business relationships generate new revenue streams and also helps to avoid litigation. It can also help small firms to attract much-needed investment.
The relationship between robotics and intellectual property is dual. Like any other machine, a robot can be granted a Patent based upon appearance, technology, database, computer algorithm or structure if it is novel and unique. In today’s World, can a robot be given a patent which is created autonomously by artificial intelligence without any human inventor? Well, this remains a very debatable question. In the year 2019, an AI activist Ryan Abbott filed for the first-ever patent application regarding inventions created autonomously by AI without a human inventor. Another DABUS, created by Stephen Thaler designed to come up with novel and unique features. The unique feature was the new type of breweries container based on factual geometry. The UK and the EU had accepted their applications but the question that still triggers the mind of people is whether such new invention can be granted a patent? Most of the patent laws state that patents can only be granted to a natural person and a robot is not a natural person. Abbott justifies saying that without granting patent rights to the ideas created by artificial intelligence, developers, academics, engineers and scientists behind these innovative AIs would lose their push to innovate on systems that could solve any problem. It is also stated that giving patents would encourage the developers to promote invention and create more and more robotic technologies.
Robotics patenting emerged in the 1980s when widespread factory automation resulted in a quadrupling of patent applications. It surged in mid-2000 as more advanced robotics came into the picture. Automotive and electronic companies remain the largest filers of robotics patents but now new players are emerging. University-industry collaboration remains strong as the stock of patents held by universities and public research organization offer significant opportunities for commercialization. According to WIPO, several robotics firms use patent applications to discover the latest technological innovations and gain insights into competitive strategies. This ensures that any rival in the industry will inevitably spy on the latest inventions and research methods involved in the achievement of these end products. While this increases competition, espionage of patents by other companies may also make it possible to alter processes and reverse engineering. Besides, the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Alice Corp v. CLS Bank international. IBM, Microsoft, Toshiba, Samsung and NEC are major companies that lead to the AI patent-ship portfolio. Recent examples can be Toyota, Facebook, ten-cent and Bosch. On the other hand, patents are being largely provided in China. Apple, alphabet, Microsoft rule the AI patent-ship industry.
Many robotics industries are therefore finding a better IP instrument to secure innovations including trade secrets. They are preferred because they are a stronger means of defence and cost-effective. They do, however, have their demerits because they are vulnerable to employee leaks. Many IP tools used to protect research and development in robotics including industrial designs that protect the shape and structure of robots, computer codes and software copyrights.
Article 39 of the TRIPs agreement considers trade secrets to be confidential, provided:
- Is hidden in the sense that, as a body or in the specific configuration and assembly of its components, it is not commonly known among or readily available to individuals within circles who usually deal with the type of information in question;
- Has commercial interest since it is secret;
- And, in the cases, the person legitimately in charge of the information was subject to fair measures to keep it confidential.
In India Patent is defined in the Patent Act 1970. The patent of software and algorithms is not codified in India and US. Section 3(k) of the patents act, 1970 exclude a mathematical method, business method, algorithm or computer program are not including in patent-ship. But the interpretation of the word patent has been drastically changing and many countries have provided patent to artificial intelligence-enabled machines, algorithms and software. In a world where a robot is being given a citizenship Saudi Arabia (Sophia) and residency in Japan (Shibuya Mirai), this means that these AI technologies can enjoy patent and copyright privileges also.
As time has changed, the Computer-related inventions (CRIs) guidelines have also been changed. There have been various debates on whether artificial intelligence is eligible to be a subject matter in the intellectual property rights and if it is eligible, then what would be the identity of that AI and what are its rights and liabilities. This would encourage investors in developing software and promoting passionate innovation. The situation remains the same in the UK where an inventor is to be a person, but the office is well aware of the issue. The UK government believes that bringing artificial intelligence in the ambit of a patent ship would increase the GDP by 10% and also bring out solutions to other privacy issues.
The recent example of a GAN was the picture of US President Donald Trump being chased by a bear. Now again the question arises who is the owner of these pictures, is it the public or the company that developed artificial intelligence or the developer of GAN. There is no answer to this question because of insufficient laws and their interpretation. The ownership of these patents must be solely on the robots because patents are only given after strict examination of these machines. The liability clause should be kept broad so that the interpretation can be done according to facts and circumstances. The authorities in advance must know the functions, features and disabilities of the AI machine and the consequences of the machine. There is a need to step forward; it is risky but to expand in this field on the need to interpret the laws differently. There should be heavy and strict supervision by the human resources in the advanced stages.
There is a rule in artificial intelligence that the data provided to the machine should not be developer biased and negative. Assuming this principle to be followed, the machines are being made for the betterment of humans. The developers would give their hundred per cent in flourishing these AI machines to get patents. Any biasness would amount to major losses to the organization making and it would also disqualify the person.
The reason why artificial intelligence-enabled machines are not being given patents is because of the data protection regulation which states that transparency is the basic right of individuals and decisions are to be made with full efficiency and transparency, which would easily be done by humans. Machines would only come out with a decision and not with the procedure. The same principles followed in the tort law of negligence, where there is a duty of care but the duty has been breached, the person has suffered losses because of a decision made by the machine. Now, who will be liable for the incident, as according to the laws in India, there are no laws for artificial intelligence and hence the liability goes on to the owner of the machine. There is an ambiguity in this also stating that the liability will go on the owner or the manufacturer or the authority which has provided the software to provide services.
Legal scholars Gabriel Halevy have come up with criminal liability models of the liability of artificial intelligence. The first model is perpetration via another, in this, there is a need for active mens-rea, which is not it attributed to the AI entity but the liability falls upon the perpetrator of the AI software. The second model is a natural probable consequence in which there is no intention to commit an offence that is there is no active mens-rea but the user of the AI entity is liable. The third model is the direct liability model in which the AI entity is itself liable for the offence committed. The three models have given a basic understanding of how the laws can be interpreted according to the facts and circumstances of this situation.
One of the most important intellectual property rights is copyright. It is provided for original creativity or expression of an idea, particularly in artistic work. The central idea and justification behind this notion of granting patent were that the author is an originator in regards to Locke’s economic theory of possessive individualism. Two requirements need to be fulfilled compulsory for the issuance of copyright. First, the work should be in a physical sense, and second, it should be original work and not simply a duplicate or alteration. Copyrights are generally extended in both literary and artistic works. The assumption that the applicability of existing contemporary fields of AI is the development of creative works, the study of copyright in light of AIs, It was because the software was considered simply a device that assisted the artistic process, almost as a pen and paper, and helped to construct the work and did not necessarily do so. However now with deep learning approaches, AI-driven computers have acquired the potential to become conscious. In the case of Bleistein v. Donaldson Lithographing Co., the court made t situation clear by using the words ‘something irreducible which is one man’s alone and, thus, machine work should never be recognized as an art. However, this rule was eased in Alfred Bell & Co. v. Catalda Fine Arts, Inc. to include any original work. So paving a path for the future of AI creation copyright Artificial intelligence can produce portraits that could not be distinguished by the work done by humans, based on style and subject. This includes the originality given to the portrait by a machine. The artwork remains the most distinguished where it is made through algorithms and not through paint and sound recorder. One of the examples of the work done by an AI is Comte de Belamy, also known as the obvious art was auctioned for $ 4, 32,500 which is nearly 45 times higher than the estimation. The work appears to be unfinished the facial features remain indistinct, but gives a clear view of a man. This example shows that the algorithms can emulate creativity.
Any artistic work, in which the author tries to achieve a predicted goal, give commands to the computer software with selected colours, tools and other details, so that the machine can come out with the desired result. In the US copyright law, the author has the right over the output if he cites the AI program used for creativity. Another category of works which Generated by AI machines but without giving a command, the computer programs responsible for autonomously generating work songs are the result of human ingenuity, the source code may be copyrighted as a literary Work under the US Copyright act. The artwork generated by such programs, however, are not copyrightable if not directly influenced by human authors. This is all as per the laws pertaining at present.
If an AI-generated work is not attributed to a human, it cannot fall under the ambit of copyright-ability and hence open to the public domain for use. The term authorship has been used in a narrow sense restricting only two legal personalities but many scholars have debated on giving a wider sense to the word authorship. As per professor, Ryan Abbott Giving authorship to nonhuman authors would expand the use of artificial intelligence and benefit the nation. Non-human authors are not legal persons, hence not bound by the court of law. There is a need to work upon the nature of artificial intelligence as a juristic person So that a machine can be held liable.
We lack laws in this field; it does not mean that we need new laws. There is a need to interpret old cyber laws in a broader context. At present, there are laws created by the European Union and the GDPR guidelines. All the countries are in a midway of formulation of AI legal framework, there are guidelines on how the framework should work but there is no codified law pertaining to AI or machine learning, countries like Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Finland, Norway, Sweden, China are the top holder of AI and its application with no laws. All the countries are making strategies to achieve AI technology in a decade. The common developments are in the research sector, training and skill development sector, establishments of AI hubs, scientific parks and major tie-ups with universities to create a pathway between knowledge and implementation. Few countries are planning to have unmanned cars, smart cities and AI Robots in the next few years. Countries’ government are collaborating with various in house tech giants to develop the scope of AI and promote its use. Unless and until there is an application of AI, how will there be a proper framework of AI laws and regulations, apart from this mailing laws means facing the AI issues of privacy and open access to information (IPR) so countries are having discussions on how to protect these laws and still applying AI in day to day terms.
There is a need for AI products to get a trademark because of their uniqueness. For a trademark the requirement is of a storyboard with the objective reasoning for a particular logo, the logo selected should be different unique and not same with any existing one. The trademark law suggests not using descriptive words or common words as a trademark. There are a few words which are been restricted by the court of law to be used as a trademark for example registration of the trademark shall give no right to the exclusive use of the word prime except as depicted as per The Indian trademark journal. Relevancy of trademark exists only when there is product distinction; product distinction can be achieved through issuing patents and copyright. The whole story revolves around the issue of patents and copyright. Unless and until the AI-enabled machine gets copyright or a patent, which would be liable for the issuance of the trademark.
EXISTENCE OF RIGHTS – INDIAN AND INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE:
The ISO had developed safety standards for robots. These standards were used in the coordination of personal care that needs to be looked when there are no government standards. Slowly and steadily as the developments took place, countries started making regulations in laws based on robotics. Issac Asimov made realized the importance of laws in the field of AI and hence suggested three kinds of laws. These are:
- A robot may not injure any human being or, through inaction, allow any human being to come to harm.
- A robot must obey the orders given by human beings except for such orders would not contradict with the First Law.
- A robot must protect its existence as long as such protection does not conflict/ go against the First or Second Laws.
Japan became the first country that has one of the best AI laws to safeguard new technologies. They demand a high level of safety while creating new technologies and hence increasing robotic innovations. In Japan, robots form a quite large population. They have been employed in the Ministry of agriculture, forest, fisheries, self-guided harvesting, labour, health keeping in mind various rules and regulations implemented to design robots. In the early times, it had its literature based on the laws of a robot. There were 10 laws which were manifested decades ago in “Astro Boy” by manga Osama Tezuka. This was a comic series, and the 10 manifested laws were:
- Robots must serve humanity.
- Robots must not kill or harm humans.
- A robot must call its human creator “father.”
- Robots may not go abroad without permission.
- A robot created as an adult may not become a child.
- A robot can make anything, except money.
- Male and female robots may not change their genders.
- Robots may not change their face to become a different robot.
- A robot may not reassemble a robot that has been disassembled by a human.
- Robots shall not destroy human homes or tools.
In the year 2015, Krio University professor proposed 8 precepts of robot law which were made keeping in mind the OECD privacy principles. These laws were:
- robots may not harm humanity or become people
- They shall maintain obedience to order, they must follow human orders and be subjected to control
- The secrecy and privacy should be maintained, they shall preserve the secrecy of any information collected.
- Robots must be limited to their intended use only and should not harm humans.
- They should be made keeping in mind some security Safeguards
- Robots should be designed in regards to openness and transparency and must be verifiable.
- Individuals have the right to participate in the creation of rules governing robot and not vice versa.
- Any action of the robot must be accountable, subject to rules of liability for robots.
South Korea is the second-ranked country to deal with robots. It has employed robots in households. The ministry had regulated a 12 member task force including doctors, lawyers and scientists to define proper relations between humans and robots in the form of intensive regulations. The code that ought to be drafted, took reference from the fiction novel of Isaac Asimov “I Robot”.
In 2012, the government issued a robot ethics charter. This charter was drafted to prevent social flaws that may arise out of inadequate social and legal measures to deal with robots in the prevailing society. Part one of this charter mentioned manufacturing standards. The standards initiated with ensuring the autonomy of robots, it should always be possible for humans to control robots. It also said that strict standards of quality control should be taken into consideration before manufacturing a robot. The standards should be met so that a robot does not kill/injure any person. Robots must be made, keeping in mind that they should prevent any psychological harm to humans. Psychological harm includes sociopathic behaviour, anxiety, depression, stress or any addiction. All the actions of robots should be traceable, must be ecologically sensitive and sustainable. The second part of the charter talks about the rights and responsibilities of users/owners. The right to take control over the robot, the right to use the robot without any risk or fear, the right to security of personal details and other sensitive information, right to perform any task are few important rights mentioned in this part. The responsibilities include that the user must not use the robot for any illegal activity or for committing any illegal act. It should not cause any physical or psychological harm and reasonable precautions must be taken before so that the robot does not become an element of threat.
As per the Korean law, deliberately destroying a robot is an offence and any gross negligence that ends the robot in harming humans is also an offence. The charter entitles robots with some responsibilities and rights. The responsibilities are similar to the laws given by Issac Aminov. Further, there are certain rights like the right to exist without the fear of death or injury and the right to live free from any systematic abuse. This Korean charter provides the rights and responsibilities of users, rights and responsibilities of robots and some guidelines to safeguard the usage and manufacture of the robot. Such guidelines should be adopted by every country to regulate manufacturing.
At the beginning of 2018, Thiruvananthapuram – based start-up Genrobotics joined forces with the Kerala government to deploy a spider-shaped robot called bandicoot to clean sewers and manholes in the city. The robot’s mechanical arms reached inside the manhole and supposedly removed the sludge in a few minutes, a process that involves three people and a few hours of hard labour. Government and various companies are gradually turning to robotics to save time, energy and costs. While the automotive industry has received the highest level of acceptance, the demand for robots is growing in general industry as well. The adoption of robots has been sluggish in India as Indian businesses tend to have more reliable and tested devices. However, many processes in the Indian market are not very streamlined and many companies are still working in an unstructured manner with lower digitization rates compared to other developed markets.
Other from this, there are various other countries like the European Union, the United States and China that have intensive regulations to govern robot and its existence. In the European Union, Robolaw is $1.9 million European commission project designed to prepare legal and ethical guidelines for robotics. All of these guidelines are made based on the three laws of Asimov. The robotic industry in China stands at number five. As per the International Federation of robotics, China has the largest number of industrial robots since 2016. It is estimated that by the end of 2020, 50,000 industrial robots are to be manufactured along with 9,50,300 industrial robots. In the 2018 world robot conference, China had stated that it has approved plan to build a national robotics innovation Centre that aims to focus on tackling common bottlenecks such as human-robot interaction technologies and other controls. In the year 2017, the Chinese government promoted start-ups, give them a license that dealt in robot manufacturing.
Robotics has been growing rapidly. Countries have started forming laws from the past two-three years. Organizations like Google and the European Union have come out with certain principles of artificial intelligence. There is a need to spread awareness of all possible AI uses all around the globes so that people may be able to know the issues and the ways of preventing them. We have no codified law of robotics till date and there is a need for the organization to propose ways to protect data from being used anonymously and to maintain data confidentiality at large. There is a need for the development of IPR laws so that a separate existence can be given to robots and other machine learning devices. Patents and copyright laws are being interpreted in a different manner and scenario seems to be changing after that comes the trademark. Few countries are planning to have unmanned cars, smart cities and robots in the next few years, the various countries’ governments are collaborating with various in-house technology giants to develop the scope of artificial intelligence and promote its use. The more intervention would take place; there would be an excessive need for the issuance of patents and copyright law for robots. There are various guidelines made for the issue of privacy and open access to information, countries are still deciding on this. It’s not only the government taking the initiative; the UNESCO also contributes to artificial intelligence and in South Africa especially. To maintain data privacy and confidentiality, the human rights movements in the modern era have significantly influenced the idea of legal rights and jurisprudence. The right to privacy has been expressly mentioned in all international humanitarian organizations like article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 14 and 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. There is a need to enhance the creativity and activeness by conducting conferences and summits so that ideas can flow out of homes and the issues can find solutions.
In the coming years, there is a need to decide on the liability and authorship of the enabling technology, the liability of the work done by the AI-enabled machines and who would be responsible for any negligent act done by the machine. There is a need to interpret present laws and regulations distinctly and innovatively so that artificial intelligence can make space for itself. There is a need to provide patents for AI bots and other machine learning devices, so that people get interested in this field, leading to innovation. Artificial intelligence is highly expensive and includes risk, patents and copyrights would help reduce the risk and the liability of the owner-who so ever it may be. Hence the tussle between artificial intelligence and the intellectual Property rights need a just and fair examination of the previous laws and a better interpretation of the transformative Constitution along with the transformative society, where artificial intelligence has been used in day to day lives to make work easier. There is a need to decide on it as fast as possible because AI is fostering itself very fast not only in India but everywhere, covering various domains.
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 Key Highlights of Justice Chandrachud’s Judgment in the Right to Privacy Case The Wire, https://thewire.in/law/justice-chandrachud-judgment-right-to-privacy (last visited Aug 5, 2020)
 No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
 1. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honour and reputation.
2. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.