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What legal protection is afforded to the algorithm that is the core of AI?

As with any innovation, the protection of an AI algorithm is an important question. Often considered as the very heart of the growth mechanism for companies with a strong technological potential, innovative algorithms are subject to industrial espionage, are often copied and sometimes pirated. In this field, intellectual property security is essential.

Several types of legal protection are possible. Considering that each one has both advantages and disadvantages, companies must define their strategy as regards intellectual property.

Patents can protect against the reproduction of an algorithm. If the code that designates the content of the algorithm is considered as a company’s form of expression, it could benefit from the copyright regime. However, although this regime protects from copying, it does not guarantee that competitors cannot reproduce the functions of the source code and the initial mathematical formula.

Whether using trade secret, copyright or patent to protect an algorithm, legal security must be assessed and chosen with regard to a company’s activity and the exposure of its digital matter outside the company.

In this field, it is therefore both vital and complex to seek appropriate protection. Concepts of secrecy, confidentiality, and property must be re-assessed and projected into a new paradigm that is open, dematerialised and fully inter-connected.