The following is an edited transcript of my video Will AI Change Trademarks?
Artificial intelligence has been in the news in 2023. And a lot of that is due to the amazing tool ChatGPT, which is a breakthrough in terms of artificial intelligence technology. The company, OpenAI, that built ChatGPT, was valued at $29 billion recently. And yet, they only filed the trademark application for ChatGPT a few weeks ago, and they only filed for OpenAI last year. So big companies sometimes need reminders about the value of trademark protection as well.
Whether AI is going to affect and impact the world of trademarks, and filing and registering trademarks has some of my attorney colleagues up in arms, wondering if their jobs are going to be replaced by artificial intelligence the next five years. I have no such fears.
The process of applying for a trademark registration is both an art and a science, and I don’t think that will ever be replaced by computers. Computers can do some of it. They can certainly approach doing the science part of it. But the art of it is much more nuanced.
Knowing the nuances of how to describe a product or service for a client, how to potentially avoid a refusal, and all the strategy that goes into filing a good trademark application; those are going to be, in my opinion, impossible to replicate with AI.
However, I do think that there are some areas where AI will impact what we do; hopefully, in a very positive way: doing studies based on consumer behaviors, based on brands that are already registered, and based on decades of court decisions about what types of marks are confusing, what types of goods and services are related and unrelated, for that matter.
Perhaps AI can build a very useful body of research that will help give us guidance about likelihood of confusion analysis. But again, it’s only going to be guidance. Every situation is unique, and there are a multitude of factors. That’s why artificial intelligence, my opinion, will never replace attorneys for their counsel and guidance in the world of trademarks.