25 August 2023 • 5 min read
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A day in the life of most people alive today seems like it’s straight out of a sci-fi movie from the 90s. We’ve seen drones delivering packages, cars driving themselves, and robots performing surgery on humans. And now, the latest addition to the technological marvels list that everyone is gushing about — ChatGPT.
This has also raised questions like how to protect ChatGPT content with trademark registration.
To say it took the internet by storm would be an understatement. ChatGPT reached its first million user milestone in a week. It’s beaten Instagram as the fastest application to do so. It’s estimated to have reached 100 million monthly active users in January, just two months after its launch.
We thought the best place to find the answer to this question would be at the source. And this is how ChatGPT defined itself:
“‘I am ChatGPT, a large language model developed by OpenAI based on the GPT-3 architecture. As a language model, my purpose is to generate human-like responses to natural language inputs. I have been trained on a vast amount of text data and can understand and respond to a wide range of topics and questions.”
Well, ChatGPT is being a bit modest. Its ability to generate content and answers based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has roused the curiosity of internet users worldwide. And they’ve kept the chatbot busy with questions that range from the profound, such as:
What is the ultimate fate of the universe?
What is the role of art and beauty in human life?
To the bizarre:
What would happen if I turned into a pickle?
Can you help me write a love letter to a robot?
To the amazement of many, the chatbot’s responses read as if humans have written them. Until now, most chatbots generated minimal, mechanical, and repetitive responses, such as those used by banks and customer service agencies.
But ChatGPT’s content is significantly more advanced and sophisticated. This is ushering in a new era for artificial intelligence. This also means people have already started using it for competitive advantage.
This brings us to the crucial question of who has the rights over this content. Can you ensure legal protection as a federal trademark for content created by artificial intelligence?
Luckily, OpenAI has spelled this out quite clearly in their content policy:
“As between the parties and to the extent permitted by applicable law, you own all input. Subject to your compliance with these Terms, OpenAI hereby assigns to you all its rights, title, and interest in and to output. This means you can use the content for any purpose, including commercial purposes such as sale or publication if you comply with these terms.”
Since it’s clearly your content, it’s a valuable asset for your business. In a highly competitive business world, such brand assets can be protected by a trademark. You can register one with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to ensure that you are the only one who can use them. But the lines are a bit blurred when the original creator is a piece of code.
So we asked ChatGPT: “Can I trademark content generated on ChatGPT?” and here’s what it told us:
“As an AI language model, ChatGPT is not capable of creating original works that are subject to trademark protection. However, if you create original content based on the output of ChatGPT, such as incorporating it into a logo or slogan, that may be eligible for trademark protection.”
To be eligible for legal trademark protection, the content must meet the following requirements:
If your content meets these requirements, you can register it as a federal trademark with your jurisdiction’s appropriate intellectual property office.
However, it’s important to note that trademark registration laws can be complex and vary by country. So, you may want to consult an intellectual property lawyer to ensure your trademark registration application is done correctly, especially as this field is rapidly transforming.
ChatGPT is new technology and is still a work in progress, so there’s a likelihood that the content it generates for you may not be as unique as you think. Especially in such cases, a trademark registration will give you legal protection to keep using your brand assets and prevent infringement even if some other users get the same ChatGPT content.
But as ChatGPT also pointed out, your content must be unique, distinctive, and relevant to your business, subject to the criteria USPTO applies to all intellectual property when evaluating trademark registration applications.
At this point, it’s advisable to seek professional advice or assistance from a (usually human) trademark registration attorney or service provider.
Artificial intelligence-generated ChatGPT content is rapidly transforming the business landscape. At a time when content is a pillar of many companies’ marketing strategies, it can be a boon, especially for small businesses that don’t have deep pockets to spend on an army of copywriters and big agencies.
Small business owners can create brand names, slogans, tag lines, and much more that are creative and tailored to their business needs, as long as you also give them protection as the valuable and unique AI-generated brand assets they are.
Yes, the basic ChatGPT platform is free for everyone to use as of now. But ChatGPT has also recently introduced some paid and subscription plans for more advanced uses and features. This is currently being offered as ChatGPT Plus.
The US Copyright Office and a US district court have recently ruled that the final output of generative AI systems, like ChatGPT, are not eligible for protection under US copyright law. For such protections, the work has to be an original, creative work by a human author.
ChatGPT is owned by the artificial intelligence company OpenAI. The AI research business was founded in 2015 by many famous Silicon Valley entrepreneurs such as Sam Altman, Elon Musk, and other prominent figures, including Peter Theil, Ilya Sutskever, Jessica Livingston, Reid Hoffman, Greg Brockman, Wojciech Zaremba, and John Schulman.
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Amrusha is a versatile professional with over 12 years of experience in journalism, broadcast news production, and media consulting. Her impressive career includes collaborating extensively with prominent global enterprises. She garnered recognition for her exceptional work in producing acclaimed shows for Bloomberg, a renowned business news network. Notably, these shows have been incorporated into the esteemed curriculum of Harvard Business School. Amrusha's expertise also encompassed a 4-year tenure as a consultant at Omidyar Network, a leading global impact investing firm. In addition, she played a pivotal role in the launch and content strategy management of the startup Live History India.
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