Online workshop Trade Mark Law and Artificial Intelligence
On 22 October 2021, Prof. Senftleben (University of Amsterdam), Prof. Gangjee (University of Oxford) and Dr. Moerland (University of Maastricht) will bring together a group of scholars, policy makers and private stakeholders who are all interested in the interface between artificial intelligence and trade marks, in particular how AI facilitates examination and enforcement, how AI-assisted consumers react to trade marks and whether sufficient transparency is guaranteed in these processes.
So far, the scholarly debate on how artificial intelligence (AI) influences intellectual property protection has mainly focussed on its effects for patent and copyright protection. Not much attention has been devoted to the effects of the use of AI technology for trade mark law. However, in a world where AI technology is used to assist 1) consumers in making their purchasing decisions, 2) marketers in targeting consumers on the basis of behavioural data, 3) trade mark examiners to determine whether a sign can be registered, 4) judges in determining trade mark infringement, and 5) trade mark holders in bringing their offers to the attention of consumers and enforcing their rights, more insights are needed into the opportunities and limitations relevant AI technology offers as well as the role trade marks still fulfil in these situations.
The online discussion aims at opening the dialogue between trade mark scholars, AI developers and stakeholders. The purpose is two-fold. First, we want to understand how relevant AI tools process information relevant for brand-based commercial communication, as well as trade mark examination, infringement and enforcement, and what their limitations are. Second, based on that information, we will discuss the consequences for trade mark law and proposals to regulate AI systems and related data streams, identify areas of attention and suggest possible approaches towards current trade mark law and policy, including related areas, such as advertising rules and transparency obligations. We plan to establish a research agenda in order to provide a holistic overview of the effects of AI technology on trade mark law and practice.
Friday 22 October 2021, 2pm – 5pm CEST
Session 1: Scaling up: The impact of AI on trade mark examination, registration and enforcement
Since the impact of AI in the trade mark space is more subtle, it has started to achieve widespread usage at considerable scale, with relatively little comment. Tens of thousands of decisions to apply for marks, challenge subsequent applications and (increasingly) enforcing trade mark rights online are influenced by AI assessments of mark and product similarity. This presentation maps out the remarkable achievements till date, their limits and some normative implications of this large scale automation of individual slices of trade mark decision making.
Session 2: The need for transparency with regard to the parameters that are used to target consumers in brand-based commercial communication
Session 3: AI in online shopping – trade mark functions and the AI-assisted consumer
Along with our expert audience, we aim to explore whether trade marks still fulfil their role in a world in which consumers are assisted by AI technology when purchasing in the online market place. In how far do we still need trade marks to avoid consumer confusion? Or do the other functions of trade marks justify their continuous protection? If the answer is yes, and trade marks still play a role, we may need to adapt the concept of the average consumer in EU trade mark law to an AI-assisted consumer. In order to do so, a better understanding of how consumers act in online purchases when confronted with different types of AI mechanisms is needed.