Southeast Asia has experienced a significant increase in foreign investment, which has not only brought innovation but also raised questions about protecting such innovation. Investors are increasingly interested in patenting the proprietary technology that plays a vital role in numerous businesses today.
Recently, particular interest has been shown in innovations related to artificial intelligence (AI) technology and software. Are these types of innovations patentable, and if so, how? When it comes to Southeast Asia, the answers to these questions are not straightforward, due to the lack of uniform patent laws across the region.
Issues of Patentability
The patentability of computer software has long been a topic of discussion, predating the emergence of AI tools. Many jurisdictions have specific rules regarding the patentability of software. Pure software, defined solely by source code, may not qualify for patent protection but can be safeguarded under copyright laws. AI-related software often involves intricate algorithms, datasets, and training methodologies that pose challenges when it comes to satisfying the enablement requirement for disclosure. However, algorithms, mathematical methods, and abstract ideas are generally considered non-patentable subject matter in many jurisdictions. Although software implementing AI may incorporate innovative algorithms, obtaining patents solely for algorithms can be difficult in certain countries. Read more