|Day's range||2.1200 - 2.3100|
(Bloomberg) -- Computers using artificial intelligence are discovering medicines, designing better golf clubs and creating video games.But are they inventors?Patent offices around the world are grappling with the question of who -- if anyone -- owns innovations developed using AI. The answer may upend what’s eligible for protection and who profits as AI transforms entire industries.“There are machines right now that are doing far more on their own than to help an engineer or a scientist or an inventor do their jobs,” said Andrei Iancu, director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. “We will get to a point where a court or legislature will say the human being is so disengaged, so many levels removed, that the actual human did not contribute to the inventive concept.”U.S. law says only humans can obtain patents, Iancu said. That’s why the patent office has been collecting comments on how to deal with inventions created through artificial intelligence and is expected to release a policy paper this year. Likewise, the World Intellectual Property Office, an agency within the United Nations, along with patent and copyright agencies around the world are also trying to figure out whether current laws or practices need to be revised for AI inventions.The debate comes as some of the largest global technology companies look to monetize massive investments in AI. Google’s chief executive officer, Sundar Pichai, has described AI as “more profound than fire or electricity.” Microsoft Corp. has invested $1 billion in the research company Open AI. Both companies have thousands of employees and researchers pushing to advance the state of the art and move AI innovations into products.International Business Machines Corp.’s supercomputer Watson is working with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on a research lab to develop new applications of AI in different industries, and some of China’s biggest companies are giving American companies a run for their money in the field.The European Patent Office last month rejected applications by the owner of an AI “creativity machine” named Dabus, saying that there is a “clear legislative understanding that the inventor is a natural person.” In December, the U.K. Intellectual Property Office turned down similar petitions, noting AI was never contemplated when the law was written.“Increasingly, Fortune 100 companies have AI doing more and more autonomously and they’re not sure if they can find someone who would qualify as an inventor,” said Ryan Abbott, a law professor at the University of Surrey in England. “If you can’t get protection, people may not want to use AI to do these things.”Abbott and Stephen Thaler, founder of St. Louis-based Imagination Engines Inc., filed patent applications in numerous countries for a food container and a “device for attracting enhanced attention,” listing Thaler’s machine Dabus as the inventor.The goal, Abbott said, was to force patent offices to confront the issue. He advocates listing the computer that did the work as the inventor, with the business that owns the machine also owning any patent. It would ensure that companies can get a return on their investment, and maintain a level of honesty about whether it’s a machine or a human that’s doing the work, he said.Businesses “don’t really care who’s listed as an inventor but they do care if they can get a patent,” Abbott said. “We really didn’t design the law with this in mind, so what do we want to do about it?”Still, to many AI experts and researchers, the field is nowhere near advanced enough to consider the idea of an algorithm as an inventor.‘Just Computer Tools’“Listing an AI system as a co-inventor seems like a gimmick rather than a requirement,” said Oren Etzioni, head of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence in Seattle. “We often use computers as critical tools in generating patentable technology, but we don’t list our tools as co-inventors. AI systems don’t have intellectual property rights -- they are just computer tools.”The current state of the art in AI should put this question off for a long time, said Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, who suggested the debate might be more appropriate in a “century or two.” Researchers are “very far from artificial general intelligence like ‘The Terminator’.”It’s not just who’s listed as the inventor that is flummoxing patent agencies.Software thus far can’t follow the scientific method -- independently developing a hypothesis and then conducting tests to prove or disprove it. Instead, AI is more often used for “brute force,” where it would simply “churn through a bunch of possibilities and see what works,” said Dana Rao, general counsel for Adobe Inc.Human v. Machine“The question is not ‘Can a machine be an inventor?’ it’s ‘Can a machine invent?”’ Rao said. “It can’t in the traditional way we view invention.”A patent is awarded to something that is “new, useful and non-obvious.” Often, that means figuring out what a person with “ordinary skill” in the field would understand to be new -- for instance, a knowledgeable laboratory researcher. That analysis gets skewed when courts and patent offices have to compare the work of a software program that can analyze an exponentially greater number of options than even a large team of human researchers.“The bar is changing when you use AI,” said Kate Gaudry, a patent lawyer with Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton in Washington. “However this is decided, we have to be consistent.”Iancu likened it to debates a century ago over awarding copyrights to photographs taken with a camera.“Somebody must have created the machine, somebody must have trained the machine and somebody must have pushed the ‘on’ button,” he said. “Do we think those activities are enough to count as human contributions to the invention process? If yes, the current law is enough.”Still, Rao said, there needs to be some way to help companies using AI to protect their ideas. That’s particularly true for copyrights on photographs created through a type of machine learning systems known as Generative Adversarial Networks.“If I want to create images to sell them, there needs to be ways of determining ownership,” Rao said.The evolution of machine learning and neural networks means that, at some point, the role of humans in certain types of innovation will decrease. In those cases, who will own the inventions is a question that’s critical to companies using AI to develop new products.Iancu said he sees AI as full of promise, and notes that agencies have had to address such weighty questions before, such as genetically modified animals created in a lab, complex mathematics use for cryptography and synthetic DNA.“It’s one of these things where hopefully, the various jurisdictions around the world can discuss these issues before it’s too late, before we have to play catch up,” Iancu said.To contact the reporters on this story: Susan Decker in Washington at email@example.com;Dina Bass in Seattle at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at email@example.com, ;Jillian Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org, Elizabeth WassermanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
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Wall Street has been able to sustain its longest bull run amid coronavirus outbreak. The technology stocks have primarily propelled the impressive bull run.
Company INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORPORATION TIDM IBM Headline Notification of filing of document The Corporation's current report on Form 8-K dated [Feb. 10, 2020] was filed with the United States Securities Exchange Commission and in Luxembourg with the Luxembourg Stock Exchange as the officially appointed mechanism for the central storage of regulated information and with the CSSF on [Feb. 11, 2020]. The report is available at www.sec.gov and www.bourse.lu.
(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. has asked the U.S. Court of Federal Claims to allow it to question President Donald Trump in its lawsuit challenging the loss of a highly lucrative cloud contract.In a court filing made public on Monday, Amazon asks to question Trump and top Pentagon leaders about their role in the Pentagon’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, cloud contract that was awarded to Microsoft Corp. in October.Amazon is seeking evidence to show political interference cost the company the cloud deal. Among the leaders Amazon seeks to depose are Trump, former Defense Secretary James Mattis, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Dana Deasy, the Pentagon’s chief information officer, as well as other individuals involved in the selection process, according to the Jan. 17 filing.Amazon faces an uphill battle to persuade a judge to order the president to participate in a deposition in this case, procurement experts said.“It is absurd to think that this President, at this point, would sit for a deposition or, for that matter, show respect for the legal system,” Steven Schooner, a professor at the George Washington University Law School, said in a statement.Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener said in a statement the company is seeking the additional evidence to preserve the public’s confidence in the procurement process. Rachel VanJohnson, a spokeswoman for the Defense Department’s Cloud Computing Program Office, said in a statement the Pentagon “strongly opposes” Amazon’s request to depose its senior officials because it would delay implementation of the technology program. The contract is worth up to $10 billion over a decade.The company’s cloud unit, Amazon Web Services, filed a lawsuit in November alleging the Defense Department failed to fairly judge its bid for the JEDI contract because Trump viewed Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos as his “political enemy.”Amazon’s lawsuit chronicles a laundry list of comments and actions by Trump and the Defense Department that it claims show the Pentagon bowed to political pressure when awarding the deal to Microsoft. In one case, Amazon cites claims in a book by Mattis’ former speechwriter, Guy Snodgrass, that Trump told Mattis in the summer of 2018 to “screw Amazon” by locking it out of the bid. Mattis has criticized the book.Amazon also mentions comments Trump made in July 2019 when he said he was looking “very seriously” at the cloud-computing contract, citing complaints from Microsoft, Oracle Corp. and International Business Machines Corp.Amazon Web Services is seeking additional material to present to the judge, including “facts not currently known or accessible to AWS demonstrating exactly how President Trump’s order to ‘screw Amazon’ was carried out during the decision-making process,” the company’s filing said.Also on Monday, Microsoft filed two separate motions asking the court to dismiss many of Amazon’s bias allegations and block the company from seeking additional evidence. Microsoft argued in court papers that it had won the JEDI procurement because it submitted a cheaper and “technically superior” bid and not because of political interference by Trump.“AWS has alleged zero facts-- nothing -- plausibly indicating any DOD official involved in the JEDI procurement, at any level, was actually influenced by the alleged anti-Bezos statements,” Microsoft wrote.The president has long criticized Bezos over everything from the shipping rates his company pays the U.S. Postal Service to his ownership of the Washington Post. In December 2015, Bezos joked on Twitter about wanting to send Trump to space.Deasy, the Pentagon’s chief information officer, has said that as far as he knows, no one from the White House reached out to any members of the JEDI cloud contract selection team.While no law prohibits a president from weighing in on a contract, federal agencies must choose vendors based on the technical criteria outlined in their requests for proposals, not opinions from politicians, according to procurement officials.In order to win Trump’s testimony in this case, Amazon would have to offer evidence that he followed up on his public comments about Amazon with private instructions to the officials running the procurement, said Charles Tiefer, a professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law.The judge could still grant Amazon permission to obtain more communications between the White House and the Pentagon about the contractwithout giving permission to conduct the depositions, Tiefer said.Letting a losing bidder depose a sitting president “may have not have been seen before,” Tiefer said. Yet “it’s far from impossible.”(Updates with Microsoft motion, starting in eleventh paragraph)\--With assistance from Daniel Seiden.To contact the reporter on this story: Naomi Nix in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at firstname.lastname@example.org, Paula DwyerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Bernard Arnault, the boss of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, exceeded even his own incredibly low yield expectations in his company’s giant bond sale this week — which included the biggest corporate issue in euros since 2016. The luxury giant raised 7.5 billion euros ($8.3 billion) and 1.55 billion pounds ($2 billion), over a range of maturities from two to 11 years, to help finance its $16 billion purchase of Tiffany & Co.Two of the five euro tranches were placed at negative yields, meaning investors are paying single A-rated LVMH to borrow money. Arnault’s expectations back in November for yields from the sale of “between 0% and 1%” have been surpassed. Even the 11-year tranche has a coupon of just 0.45%. M&A has never been cheaper.France’s richest man can thank the European Central Bank for this state of affairs. The restart of its 189 billion-euro Corporate Sector Purchasing Program has driven credit spreads ever lower. While the central bank wants to lessen the funding costs of European companies — and local subsidiaries of global firms — to make it easier for them to invest, it may not have been meaning to help a French luxury behemoth snap up an American jewelry icon. It’s almost certain that a bond of this size will have been bought by the ECB (or will be picked at some point in the near future). Often the bank takes up to 20% of eligible issues, and there has a been a real paucity of high-quality credit since the Quantitative Easing program kicked back into life.There was another jumbo corporate sale in Europe this week by U.S. Media giant Comcast Corp., which issued notes worth 3 billion euros and 1.4 billion pounds. This type of sale is known as a “reverse Yankee,” where an American company issues debt, but not in dollars. Maybe we could refer to LVMH’s use of dirt cheap funding in its home currency to buy an American company as a “reverse, reverse Yankee.” The world of finance is ever flexible.International Business Machines Corp. also pulled off a bumper bond deal in Europe earlier in the week; the euro credit market is truly open for business. Although January was a record month for issuance, it was dominated by financials and sovereign, supranational and agency (SSA) issuers. Credit spreads have now also moved close to their tightest ever levels, amid the general flight-to-quality sparked by the Coronavirus outbreak. It’s just a shame that most of these jumbo deals are being used to refinance existing operations more cheaply — rather than spurring an investment boom, or local European mergers and acquisitions that would help the continent’s moribund corporate environment. Still, the ECB is doing what it can; if the financing heads over the Atlantic sometimes, that’s the price you pay for the ocean of quantitative easing that’s been made available. No wonder corporates everywhere are filling their boots.To contact the author of this story: Marcus Ashworth at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Marcus Ashworth is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering European markets. He spent three decades in the banking industry, most recently as chief markets strategist at Haitong Securities in London.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Huawei Technologies Co. has filed two patent infringement lawsuits against Verizon Communications Inc. following an apparent failure to agree on licensing terms for the use of its intellectual property.The Chinese telecom gear and smartphone-making giant said it had reached out to Verizon a year ago, notifying the U.S. carrier of its breach of multiple Huawei patents. Among the offending pieces of technology are network security measures, remote sharing from a PC, parental controls and even the design of a contacts app for mobile devices.The Huawei lawsuits are a “PR stunt,” said Rich Young, a Verizon spokesman. “The action lacks merit, and we look forward to vigorously defending our company and our nation.”Though the content of the legal action doesn’t appear to have the highest of stakes, it’s a fresh sign of Huawei’s increasingly combative stance toward U.S. companies in the wake of crippling sanctions from Washington. Huawei sued the Federal Communications Commission in December, seeking to overturn a regulatory decision that would hurt the Chinese corporation’s business with its last major American clients.Another point of legal conflict surrounds the arrest of Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver, British Columbia, more than a year ago. Meng, also the eldest daughter of billionaire founder Ren Zhengfei, is facing a potential extradition to the U.S. for fraud charges, though she denies any wrongdoing.Shenzhen-based Huawei is one of the world’s most prolific patent holders, with more than 80,000 worldwide and 10,000 in the U.S. alone, the company said in a statement today. It’s also one of the leading developers of fifth-generation wireless networking tech, or 5G. It joined IBM, Apple and Amazon as one of the top 10 patent receivers in the U.S. last year, according to an analysis of filings with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Huawei said last summer that it will not weaponize its vast IP pool and was discussing licensing of its portfolio of patents with European and U.S. entities including Verizon and Qualcomm Inc.A 173-page lawsuit, filed in Waco, Texas, focuses heavily on Huawei’s research history, Verizon’s products and details of licensing talks, including several meetings in New York between representatives of the two companies. Huawei accuses Verizon of infringing on seven patents related to network infrastructure, including routers, and its Smart Family and One Talk applications.“Because Verizon has not accepted Huawei’s numerous flexible approaches during the yearlong negotiations, Huawei is compelled to now enforce its patent rights through this lawsuit,” Huawei said in the complaint.In the second lawsuit, filed in Marshall, Texas, Huawei claims Verizon infringes as many as five patents that relate to the G.709 industry standard for optical transport network systems used to transmit large amounts of data. Huawei said its offer complied with the requirement to license standard-essential technology on reasonable terms.The cases are Huawei Technologies Co. v Verizon Communications Inc., 20-30, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas (Marshall), and Huawei v. Verizon, 20-90, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas (Waco).(Updates with details of lawsuits beginning in seventh paragraph.)\--With assistance from Scott Moritz and Susan Decker.To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Gao Yuan in Beijing at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at firstname.lastname@example.org, Vlad Savov, Colum MurphyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
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(Bloomberg) -- The Central Intelligence Agency is planning to hire multiple companies for lucrative cloud computing deals in a new program that will give rivals a chance to take on market leader Amazon.com Inc.The U.S. government posted draft requirements this week for new CIA contracts that aim to build on commercial cloud capabilities the intelligence community first gained through a $600 million contract awarded to Amazon in 2013, according to documents presented to industry and obtained by Bloomberg News.Microsoft Corp., International Business Machines Corp. and Oracle Corp. are catching up to Amazon with new technical offerings, public-sector clients and federal security authorizations and are likely to submit bids. The CIA initiative likely will dramatically expand the federal cloud market, which is becoming more competitive.Using commercial cloud service providers, rather than developing those services in-house, has proven to be a faster way to meet the intelligence community’s needs and to “facilitate the adoption of innovation happening in the commercial marketplace,” the government said in the proposal.The CIA and Amazon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.Under the Commercial Cloud Enterprise initiative, or C2E, the CIA will make multiple awards to companies providing cloud computing infrastructure and cloud-based software, according to the documents. The initiative calls for tech companies to host data with varying security requirements, including unclassified, secret and top secret, according to the documents.Bidders will be judged on a range of factors including their global reach, innovation, and “operational excellence,” according to the documents.The government said the contracts could last up to 15 years with a five-year base period and two five-year renewals. The estimated award date is September 2020.The CIA has previously indicated that it intended to spend “tens of billions” of dollars on cloud computing, Bloomberg has reported. It’s unclear whether the agency has finalized an amount it plans to spend.The agency has long touted the benefits from its 2013 deal with Amazon, which was described as ”transformational” by Sean Roche, the CIA’s associate deputy director of digital innovation. It also won praise from former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.The draft requirements outline CIA plans to implement a “multicloud ecosystem,” likely avoiding some of the criticism the Pentagon faced from industry players when it decided to award the highly-lucrative Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, cloud computing contract to just one company.“In a multi-cloud ecosystem, the government will gain advantages from use of each” cloud service provider’s “unique area of investment in technology, cybersecurity strategy, and best practices,” according to the proposal.In October, Microsoft beat Amazon for the JEDI contract, which is worth as much as $10 billion over a decade. Amazon has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, arguing that it lost because President Donald Trump interfered.In 2018, Microsoft won a deal to let 17 intelligence agencies use Azure Government, a cloud service tailored for federal and local governments.IBM and Oracle have also recently gained new federal security authorizations, clearing the companies to handle more sensitive government workloads.To contact the reporter on this story: Naomi Nix in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at firstname.lastname@example.org, Gregory MottFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
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