On April 11, 2024, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) issued new guidance on the use of artificial intelligence (“AI”) by patent practitioners prosecuting matters before the USPTO. The guidelines were released due to the growing use of AI in the intellectual property community, giving rise to various legal and ethical considerations.

Emphasizing the duty of candor and good faith owed to the USPTO by each individual associated with a patent or trademark proceeding, the new guidelines state that “those involved in patent proceedings have a duty to disclose all information – including on the use of AI tools by inventors, parties, and practitioners – that is material to patentability.” Moreover, the guidelines discuss the potential for practitioners to inadvertently divulge confidential or client-sensitive information by inputting such information into AI systems when, for example, performing a prior art search or drafting a patent application.

For the avoidance of doubt, the guidance issued by the USPTO does not constitute substantive rulemaking and does not have any effect on existing law. The text of the new guidelines can be accessed here.