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By Christopher Stienburg
Thu | Apr 4, 2024 | 12:47 PM PDT

The advent of generative AI (GenAI) technologies has ushered in a new era of innovation, offering organizations unprecedented capabilities to create, automate, and optimize. However, with these advancements come complex challenges surrounding intellectual property (IP) management. In a post-ChatGPT world, businesses find themselves at a crossroads, needing to adapt their IP strategies to safeguard their assets effectively. Here, I outline a systemic approach to managing IP in the face of GenAI's growing influence.

Understanding the impact

GenAI technologies possess the dual ability to consume and generate IP, encompassing content, data, and processes. This dual capability has profound implications for IP ownership and protection. Organizations must clarify the responsibility for IP management within their structures, which traditionally falls within legal departments, though practices may vary.

Educating staff and implementing controls

One of the most immediate steps an organization can take is to ensure that all staff are well-educated on the potential risks GenAI poses. Clear guidelines on how company's information and IP assets can and cannot be utilized with AI systems are essential. Reinforcing access controls can prevent unauthorized use of IP, a crucial measure given the ease with which GenAI can disseminate information.

Legal vigilance

Regular consultation with attorneys specializing in business and technology law is vital to remain abreast of court rulings, precedents, and evolving IP laws. Companies must align their GenAI usage with current legal and regulatory standards in the applicable jurisdictions, adapting to the rapidly changing landscape.

Using company-sanctioned tools

To mitigate the risk of company-owned IP leakage, organizations should mandate the use of approved GenAI applications and services for business purposes. Such controls are necessary to prevent inadvertent sharing of sensitive data or proprietary IP information through public generative applications, which could be repurposed, misused or exposed.

Moving forward

As GenAI technologies evolve, so too must the strategies organizations use to manage and protect their intellectual property. This requires a combination of educated staff, vigilant legal oversight, and controlled use of technology. By addressing these areas, businesses can navigate the complexities of a post-ChatGPT world, leveraging GenAI's potential while safeguarding their valuable IP assets. As tools to secure GenAI against IP risks develop, enterprises should remain agile, ready to experiment, customize, and align these solutions with their specific business contexts.

In essence, the journey toward effective IP management in the era of GenAI is continuous and demands proactive engagement, robust governance, and a commitment to adapting traditional practices to new technological realities.