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Google Resolves French AI Content Case

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Strap In, AI Legal Homies! Navigating the Legal Maze of AI Just Got Real! 🚀👩‍⚖️

We're slicing through the legal tangle of AI, from Google's groundbreaking French settlement to Meta's maneuver against patent trolls. As we delve into the evolving legal landscape—from protective orders in AI discovery to innovation defense strategies—hold tight. We're your guide through the twists and turns of AI's legal frontier. Ready for the whirlwind? Let’s dive in!

On the docket today:

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Google has agreed to a settlement with the French Competition Authority, which includes a €250 million fine, over accusations of improperly using news publishers' content to train its artificial intelligence platform without adequate notification or compensation. This settlement marks a significant moment in the ongoing discourse between technology companies and content creators, particularly within the context of AI development and copyright law.

Key takeaways include:

  • Fine for Non-Compliance: Google's parent company, Alphabet, and its three operating units were fined €250 million by the French Competition Authority for not adhering to a 2022 settlement related to the compensation of French publishers for using their content.

  • Failure to Negotiate in Good Faith: The authority accused Google of not negotiating in good faith with publishers and not informing them or the authority about using their content to train its AI platform, Bard.

  • Potential Retroactive Compensation: Following this settlement, French news publishers may pursue claims for additional, retroactive compensation for the use of their content by Google.

  • Unbalanced Negotiation Conditions: According to Julien Guinot-Deléry, a Paris-based media law partner, news publishers have faced unbalanced conditions in negotiations with Google, especially regarding the valuation of indirect revenues from related rights.

  • Dispute Over Proportionality of Fine: Google has contested the proportionality of the fine, stating it does not reflect the efforts made to address the concerns raised by the French Competition Authority. Despite this, Google has agreed to pay the fine and committed to making corrections to its practices.

  • EU Copyright Directive and French Law: Both aim to protect news publishers' copyrights and related rights in the EU single market, requiring tech companies to negotiate payment for the use of publishers' content.

  • AI Training and Copyright Concerns: The use of news content to train AI systems by Google has been highlighted as a new operation that lacked transparency, sparking debate over the application of neighboring rights to AI training.

  • Le Monde's Agreement with OpenAI: Demonstrating a contrasting approach, the French newspaper Le Monde reached an agreement with OpenAI for the use of its content to train the AI platform, expected to generate significant additional revenue for the newspaper and potentially set a precedent for similar agreements in the industry.

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The integration of generative artificial intelligence (AI) into legal processes, particularly e-discovery, introduces new risks and considerations for both the party receiving and the party producing documents. As these AI technologies, capable of analyzing and generating content based on vast data sets, become more involved in legal discovery, there is a growing need to adapt protective orders to address the unique challenges they present. This article explores how generative AI impacts the interrogation of opposing productions and suggests ways protective orders might evolve to ensure the integrity and fairness of the legal discovery process.

Key takeaways include:

  • Risks for Both Parties: The use of generative AI in e-discovery poses risks not only to the party producing documents, due to potential overexposure of sensitive information, but also to the receiving party, which might inadvertently misuse AI tools, leading to ethical and legal complications.

  • Need for Enhanced Protective Orders: To mitigate these risks, there is a call for protective orders to specifically address the use of generative AI. This includes clear guidelines on what AI tools can be used, how they should be used, and what measures need to be in place to protect sensitive data.

  • Considerations for AI Interrogation: Parties need to consider the capabilities of AI tools in their protective orders, including their ability to infer, predict, or generate new information from the data they analyze. This requires a deeper understanding of AI technology and its implications for privacy and confidentiality.

  • Balancing Innovation with Protection: While embracing the efficiency and capabilities of generative AI in legal discovery, it is crucial to balance these advantages with the need to protect sensitive information and uphold ethical standards. This balance is essential for maintaining trust in the legal process and protecting the interests of all parties involved.

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Meta has initiated a strategic move to support innovation and combat patent trolls by transferring three AI-related patents to Midjourney, an image-creation research lab using generative AI. This action is intended to strengthen Midjourney's intellectual property portfolio and aid in its defense against nonparty entities (NPEs), known for their litigious pursuit of patent infringement claims. The transfer aligns with Meta's broader vision of fostering an open AI ecosystem and marks Midjourney's entrance into the LOT Network, an alliance of companies united against patent trolling.

Key takeaways:

  • Strategic Patent Transfers: Meta's transfer of AI-related patents to Midjourney aims to empower the startup in its innovation efforts and provide a stronger defense against patent trolls.

  • Support for Open AI Ecosystem: Jeremiah Chan, Meta's head of patents, emphasized the company's commitment to an open approach to AI, which they believe accelerates innovation and benefits society at large.

  • Combating Patent Trolls: Midjourney joins the LOT Network as part of its strategy to protect against patent trolls. LOT Network's unique "license on transfer" mechanism provides its members with protection against litigation by third-party patent-asserting entities.

  • Industry-Wide Protective Measures: The AI industry is proactively seeking to mitigate the risk of patent-infringement litigation by cross-licensing AI patents under the LOT license, a move designed to preemptively safeguard against disputes.

  • Rise in Patent Litigation: An increase in AI patent applications has led to predictions of a surge in patent infringement lawsuits, with Norton Rose Fulbright and law firm Crowell & Moring highlighting the growing exposure to IP disputes.

  • Significant Impact of Patent Trolls: Lawsuits filed by patent trolls have become a predominant form of patent litigation, posing a substantial risk to high-tech firms.

  • Meta's Support for Innovation through Patent Sharing: By transferring patents to other operating companies like Starbucks and Midjourney, Meta aims to reinforce the strength of their IP rights and contribute to the innovation ecosystem.

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Swiss patent law firm Da Vinci Partners LLC has initiated legal action against French American AI startup Kili Technology Inc. for trademark infringement and unfair competition. The lawsuit, centered on Kili Technology's use of the name "davinci" for its AI-powered patent drafting tool, raises questions about the increasingly blurred lines between goods and services in the realm of intellectual property law. Da Vinci Partners alleges that Kili Technology's naming of their product infringes on trademarks held by Da Vinci Partners and could lead to confusion within the patent attorney community, a small and tightly knit professional group.

Key takeaways include:

  • Trademark Infringement Claims: Da Vinci Partners asserts that Kili Technology's use of the name "davinci" for its patent drafting AI tool infringes on its registered trademarks, DA VINCI and DA VINCI DESIGNS, held since 1996 and 2010, respectively.

  • Blurring Lines Between Goods and Services: The lawsuit argues that the distinction between goods (like software) and services (like consulting) is becoming increasingly indistinct, especially with the advent of generative AI, leading to potential confusion among consumers and professionals.

  • Targeted Promotion at Legal Conferences: Da Vinci Partners claims that confusion began when Kili Technology promoted the davinci tool directly to law firms at major legal conferences, such as Legalweek in New York and ABA Techshow in Chicago in early 2024.

  • Impact on Patent Attorney Community: The lawsuit emphasizes the small, interconnected nature of the U.S. patent attorney community and argues that reputation among peers is of high value, making the potential for confusion particularly harmful.

  • Seeking Injunction and Damages: Da Vinci Partners is seeking an injunction to prevent Kili Technology from further using the name davinci for its product, along with other unspecified damages.

@lawyerswhowine

That’s all for today!

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