The Dangers of AI for Inventors and How to Protect Your Ideas

As an experienced inventor with over 100 patents to my name, I’ve seen a lot of changes in the IP landscape over the years. But nothing has been as potentially disruptive as the rise of artificial intelligence. Powerful AI systems like GPT-3 are amassing huge troves of data that could allow competitors to reverse engineer your R&D and file patents before you do. This emerging threat requires inventors and companies to take proactive measures to protect their IP. Here are several strategies I recommend:

Get Ahead of the AI Curve with Proactive Patenting

One of the best defenses is a good offense. By filing provisional and non-provisional patent applications early and often, you can stake your claim to an invention even while it’s still in development. Regular invention sessions can help you identify patentable ideas in their infancy before they have a chance to be exposed to prying AI systems.

Lock Down Trade Secrets

Any sensitive data that doesn’t make it into a patent filing needs to be protected as a trade secret. Make sure employees understand what constitutes a trade secret and their obligation to maintain confidentiality. Limit information sharing to only what’s necessary and monitor publications closely to avoid inadvertent disclosures. The stronger your trade secret controls, the harder it is for AI to piece together what you’re working on.

Probe What AI Already Knows

It’s important to investigate what data about your company is already embedded in AI models like GPT-3. Working with technology experts, you can query these systems to gauge how much they may have gleaned about your R&D pipeline based on public information. Knowing what’s out there will help you prioritize patent applications and trade secret controls.

Get Ahead of Competitors with Enabling Disclosures

One of the best ways to thwart competitors is analyzing where they are headed and then publishing enabling disclosures as prior art. This allows you to patent the whitespace opportunities while preventing others from patenting incremental improvements in crowded technology areas. AI-generated content can be used strategically as enabling disclosures to fortify your patent position.

The deck is stacking against inventors as AI grows more powerful. But with a combination of accelerated patenting, robust trade secrecy, continuous IP monitoring, and strategic disclosures, you can protect your good ideas and stay ahead of the competition. With the right IP strategy, AI doesn’t have to be a threat – it can be used to your advantage.