AI-generated Citations Raise Ethical Concerns:
Two attorneys have found themselves in a predicament for their use of AI, specifically, ChatGPT, which generated false citations in their court documents in the Mata v Avianca, Inc., (S.D.N.Y., 1:22-cv-01461) filings. The attorneys were issued an ‘Order to Show Cause’ as to why the Court should not impose disciplinary measures for producing the documents with the non-existent personal injury precedent in their Brief. According to Judge Castel in the Order to Show Cause, the Court “is presented with an unprecedented circumstance.”
This case highlights the importance of human oversight when utilizing AI tools in legal work. While AI may potentially be useful for assisted legal research and drafting, it must be used judiciously, with lawyers taking ultimate responsibility for the content and accuracy of the documents they submit. The incident raises ethical concerns regarding the potential for AI to inadvertently misrepresent legal precedents and undermine the integrity of legal proceedings.
Supreme Court’s Ruling on relationship between AI and terrorism:
Reynaldo Gonzalez, et al., v. Google LLC, No. 21-1333 was an action bought against Google after Ms. Gonzalez died following a terrorist attack orchestrated by ISIS in France in 2015. It was alleged that Google was both primarily and secondarily responsible for the death of Ms. Gonzalez because the company had aided and abetted and conspired with ISIS by providing intelligence and promoting activism through YouTube platforms. The Plaintiffs (her family) sued for damages under 18 U. S. C. §2333(a) and (d)(2), which provides for damages if a United States national is injured “in his or her person” by way of international terrorism.
The District Court and Ninth Circuit Courts both dismissed the Complaint for failure to state a claim. The District Court dismissed the complaint without prejudice and with leave to amend, but the Plaintiffs remained steadfast with their complaint and instead appealed to the Ninth Circuit. The Ninth Circuit affirmed, holding that most of the plaintiffs’ claims were barred by §230 of the Communications Decency Act, 47 U. S. C. §230(c)(1). Two of the plaintiffs’ potential claims were not barred by §230, but the plaintiffs’ allegations failed to state a viable claim. The Supreme Court ultimately found that there was little or no colorable claim even as to the potential claims identified by the Ninth Circuit and remanded to the Ninth Circuit to make a judgment consistent with those findings.
Had the Plaintiffs headed the District Court’s opportunity to amend the Complaint, they might have had a colorable claim. The case highlights the significant safety implications of AI and related technology.
Class action Microsoft – Intellectual Property Rights:
This lawsuit involves a dispute over intellectual property rights related to AI technologies. Copilot assists coders in writing lines of code by analyzing lines of public code and using AI to learn and preformulate lines of code for the code writer. It is alleged that the Copilot software is “software piracy on an unprecedented scale.” The Plaintiffs have asked for relief in the form of more than $9 billion.
In the Motion to Dismiss, Microsoft claims that the Plaintiffs lack Article III standing, and that the Plaintiffs fail to state a claim because the Plaintiffs allege no facts that would amount to privacy-based injury or copyright infringement. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued an order stating that the Plaintiffs had standing to sue, but had failed to state an injury-in-fact with respect to injury to privacy and property rights. In addition, the Court declined to dismiss several of the Plaintiffs’ claims relating to copyright and licensing. The remaining claims were dismissed without prejudice with leave to amend, except for the Plaintiffs’ Civil Conspiracy claim, which was dismissed with prejudice.
The case brings attention to the legal complexities arising from AI’s rapid advancement and collaboration between industry leaders, as well as the importance of protecting clients’ intellectual and personal property rights. It highlights the necessity for clear agreements and contracts when dealing with AI technologies, particularly in cases where multiple entities contribute to the development of AI systems. Litigators must navigate evolving legal frameworks to ensure fair attribution of ownership and protection of intellectual property rights in the AI domain.
Appeals Court Addresses AI Inventorship:
In a significant ruling, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit addressed the issue of AI inventorship in Thaler v Vidal, 2021-2347. The court denied Thaler’s patent applications that listed an AI system as the inventor, reiterating that the Patent Act expressly provides that “individuals” are inventors, and this can only mean natural persons. Thaler went on to appeal to the Supreme Court, however, cert. was denied.
This case raises fundamental questions regarding the legal status and rights of AI systems, as well as the implications for patent law. It emphasizes the need for legal frameworks to adapt to emerging technologies, including AI, to ensure the fair and effective administration of intellectual property rights.
The integration of AI into legal practices presents both opportunities and challenges for litigators across various areas of practice. The cases discussed in this blog shed light on some of the complexities surrounding AI’s present and future impacts on litigation, and the flow on effects that both litigators and the Courts will face. The cases emphasize the importance of maintaining human oversight, ensuring transparency, clarifying ownership and intellectual property rights, and updating legal frameworks to accommodate the unique characteristics of AI. As AI continues to advance, it is imperative for legal professionals to remain vigilant, well-informed, and adaptable to effectively navigate the evolving landscape of AI in litigation.
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