Innovative companies in virtually every industry, from healthcare and investment to transportation and manufacturing, are rapidly adopting artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to perform sophisticated tasks with increasing accuracy and precision . As these breakthrough technologies evolve and improve, they become an important part of improving an ever-growing list of applications including customer service, logistics and security.
Wilson Sonsini’s Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning team has worked with hundreds of companies in the field of AI. Clients rely on us to help them protect and commercialize their AI technologies, license AI technologies from start-ups and academic institutions, resolve intellectual property disputes related to AI and navigate the complex legal and regulatory landscape that governs this dynamic field.
Since many of the lawyers and professionals on our team have relevant technical backgrounds, we understand the unique nuances and challenges of this field. We have significant experience with the full range of AI and machine learning technologies, such as pattern recognition, predictive analytics, and neural networks, as well as the industries that use AI the most, including :
- Sales, Marketing and Customer Service
- Data science
- AI Architecture
- Pharmaceutical and biotechnology
- Health care
- Transport and logistics
- Education, Media and Entertainment
- Environment and energy
- Financial services
- Consumer Technology
- cyber security
- Employee Support
Our team has advised numerous companies on their integration of AI into a variety of applications, from adtech to social media algorithms. Below is a list of examples:
- Autonomous vehicles
- Personalized medicine
- Facial recognition/biometric data
- Licensing datasets for training algorithms, as well as developing and making available datasets
- Content or media recommendation engines
- Digital health
- Chatbots (e.g. automated customer service)
- Fraud detection and digital identity
- Biotechnology (eg, genomics, COVID-19 testing, cancer diagnostics)
- Mesh network optimizations
- Social media (e.g. algorithms that decide what you see, who you interact with, etc.)
- E-commerce, brands and adtech
- Investment modeling
Our technology transaction lawyers work with clients ranging from pre-seeded start-ups inventing cutting-edge AI and machine learning technologies to public companies acquiring and licensing AI and machine learning as part of their business strategy. Not only do we negotiate and draft solid and lasting agreements, but we also often help our clients identify the right partners to conclude agreements.
Because we have negotiated dozens of agreements on behalf of AI and ML vendors and users, we anticipate and address issues that can potentially derail an agreement or its outcome. We’ve helped start-ups and public companies launch new AI-powered products, platforms and services. Common issues include navigating complex data use rights for machine learning applications; managing the use of personal information and other sensitive information, or complex or vague rights to AI technology; and understand open source software licensing requirements.
The increased scrutiny and enforcement of data privacy laws directly affects AI providers and users, primarily due to reliance on large datasets. We help our customers comply with laws and regulations governing the processing, sharing and safeguarding of data, both generated and used by AI and machine learning. We advise our clients on their obligations with respect to private and sensitive information as defined by various industry laws – including the Graham-Leach-Bliley Act and HIPAA – and the EU GDPR. We help our clients develop policies and procedures to anonymize data and obtain appropriate consent from individuals whose data is collected, used or shared.
We make sure to stay abreast of new and pending regulations, and advise our clients on any regulatory changes so that they stay one step ahead of their data handling processes, policies or procedures. Our Brussels-based lawyers help clients navigate the complex and ever-changing set of laws, regulations and industry standards that govern the use of data in the European Union. In particular, our team in Brussels advises clients on the draft European AI law, which will impose strict obligations on providers and users of AI systems.
Intellectual property strategy
Our IP attorneys create highly effective strategies for the protection of our clients’ AI and machine learning technologies, considering the appropriate balance between the use of patents and trade secrets to build a strong portfolio and valuable intellectual property rights. Strong intellectual property portfolios not only put our clients in the best position to protect themselves from competition, but can also help raise capital from knowledgeable investors.
From the early stages of evolving litigation through trial and post-trial proceedings, Wilson Sonsini has represented both market-leading companies active in the AI industry and companies that rely on on AI as a core component of their products and services. As such, our team has accumulated deep technical and legal expertise. At trial, our litigants synthesize the complexities into clear, understandable narratives that form winning arguments and compelling stories. As an example, our team has repeatedly dealt with the protection of AI datasets and machine learning models for trade secrets and employee mobility, including clients whose principal asset is their AI technology. Likewise, our team regularly deals with patent litigation where the underlying technology involves very complex AI systems. This experience enables our team to resolve AI-related disputes effectively and efficiently.
Our fintech and financial services team has deep expertise in the use of AI in investment and financial services programs. Artificial intelligence can raise new regulatory issues when investment advisers, brokers, banks, payment companies and other financial service providers use it to manage and choose investments for customers, verifying customers and potential investments, forecasting market changes and providing other services. We work with our customers to meet their regulatory requirements while promoting their core businesses with as little disruption as possible. Our goal is to apply our meaningful experience in creative ways so that we can identify practical solutions for our clients.