Gavel to Gavel: Protecting Your IP in the Age of AI

The recent advent of commercially available machine learning systems and other forms of artificial intelligence has presented businesses with countless possibilities to integrate these capabilities into their operations, unlocking efficiency and gaining a competitive edge. But as with any innovation, concerns arise over how other members of the supply chain may utilize business or customer data and intellectual property in unforeseen ways.

Recently, Zoom posted a blog article that shed light on this issue, discussing a change in its terms of service. The post, published five months after the updated terms were released, aimed to enhance transparency and clarify how Zoom utilizes customer data to train its AI models. While Zoom assured its customers that their data would only be used with consent, the post also disclosed that such consent would be obtained through a pop-up window presented at the moment a user chose to use any of Zoom’s AI features, giving users little time to read or consider the impact of providing that consent. This situation underscores the importance for organizations to understand how their suppliers leverage their data and intellectual assets, particularly with respect to AI systems that can repurpose assets in novel ways.

Organizations also must collaborate with their technology suppliers to establish necessary controls to ensure contractual compliance. This starts by integrating contractual clauses into legal agreements to regulate data and IP asset usage by requiring discrete controls on such usage. By including these types of safeguards, companies can better control how their data is used.

Every business should carefully evaluate its procurement and supply contracts to address these intellectual property concerns. By crafting specific terms that prohibit any unauthorized future use of customer data and intellectual assets, businesses can better protect their data and intellectual property rights as technology continues to evolve. Protecting these assets remains crucial to mitigate potential risks. To achieve this, businesses can require the use of advanced encryption methods, conduct regular audits, and ensure compliance through other relevant data protection safeguards.

As businesses embrace the benefits of AI and machine learning, it is vital that they take proactive measures to safeguard their data and intellectual assets. By understanding how technologies utilize their information and establishing robust contractual agreements, organizations can mitigate potential risks and confidently embrace the power of AI for a competitive advantage in the market.

This article first appeared in The Journal Record on August 10, 2023, and is reproduced with permission from the publisher.