USPTO Upcoming Public Roundtable on Name, Image, and Likeness Protections

The USPTO will hold a roundtable on August 5, 2024, to discuss AI's impact on name, image, and likeness protections, exploring current laws and potential new federal legislation.

Last Updated July 2024

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will host a public roundtable on August 5, 2024, to discuss the protections for individuals' name, image, likeness, and other identity-related indicia. This event aims to gather public input on whether current laws adequately protect individuals' reputations and prevent unauthorized use of their personal attributes given the rapid rise of artificial intelligence (AI) technology.


Deepfakes, realistic but fake videos and images created using AI, have posed significant challenges in legal contexts. Courts are facing difficulties in the unauthorized use of AI-generated NIL content and are seeking to adapt to these new technological threats. So far, strategies combating deepfakes entering the courtroom include implementing advanced verification methods, educating legal professionals about deepfake technology, and legislation implementing penalties for malicious use. 

The complexities introduced by deepfakes are now prompting the legal system to evolve and adapt to these technological advancements. The USPTO monitors AI and emerging technologies to ensure intellectual property (IP) policies support innovation, collaborate with stakeholders, and provide policy recommendations. Unauthorized AI-generated NIL content can violate IP laws, with protections under Federal and state laws. 


Key Topics to Be Discussed

While the USPTO invites comments from roundtable participants on any topics relevant to the roundtable's subject matter, there’s a special interest in topics including:

    1. Constructive uses of AI: Can AI be leveraged to enhance the legitimate use of an individual's Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL)?
    2. Enhanced Detection Algorithms: Are there existing algorithms and software employing AI to detect and flag unauthorized content? What other protocols should be established for real-time detection and removal of deepfakes?
    3. Federal Protection: Should Congress create a new Federal law to protect NIL? If so, how?

Digital Evidence Collection in IP Today

As the legal community navigates these technological advancements and changes in regulation, firms should have a strategic approach in place that incorporates self-authenticating tools, expert testimonies, and a meticulous chain of custody when collecting online evidence for court. FRE 901 and 902 currently govern the ways in which digital evidence can be authenticated for use as evidence in the federal courtroom. Although these rules were established before deepfake technology became widespread, the increasing use of AI emphasizes the importance for attorneys to properly collect and authenticate evidence according to the current Federal Rules of Evidence and remain on-top-of any amendments to these rules.

Key Dates

The in-person roundtable discussion, Protecting NIL, Persona, and Reputation in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, will take place on August 5th, 2024 at USPTO Headquarters. In addition, a virtual separate session will be held. To register as a speaker at either event, the USPTO is accepting requests until July 31, 2024.

For full details on the roundtable and how to register, visit the USPTO’s event page.


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