M. Névant (FR), Editorial CommitteeM. Névant (FR), Editorial Committee

Hasta la vista, baby !

Some of our not-so-young readers might wonder whether the title catchphrase has anything to do with the song “Looking for a new love” by R&B singer Jody Watley (I can already imagine some eyebrows raised: Jody who?). As a matter of fact, it does not! Rather this catchphrase comes from the (famous) movie Terminator starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

This movie is interesting on several accounts, notably the following two.

To start with, it has to be noted that, against all odds, “Schwarzie” has become an environmental activist, and his actions going back to the days when he was “Governator” of California speak for him. As we all know innovation, notably with respect to green technology, is essential to establishing new patterns of production and consumption. A recent article published in PNAS reports that scientists from the University of Portsmouth “accidentally” discovered a super plastic-eating enzyme that could help recycle the ever-growing mountain of discarded plastics in a more environmental-friendly manner (the current approach essentially involves incineration). More generally, a 2015 report from OECD shows that the growth in environmentally-related patents is faster in some countries than the growth in overall innovation. The report also shows that Europe was the place where the most granted “green” patents were actually worked.

Another interesting point arising from the movie is that light is cast on a post-apocalyptic future where the machines have taken control. To some extent this movie, like other anticipation/science-fiction movies, e.g. A.I. directed by Spielberg, raises concerns on our “relationship” with computers and on the way artificial intelligence will drive our lives in the coming years. Patenting artificial intelligence is also a challenge for practitioners and for patent offices. A conference was recently hosted by the EPO on this topic, where in a series of presentations and panel discussions participants discussed various solutions for providing applicants with a solid framework for patenting AI inventions. A report on the conference can be found in this issue of epi information. There is no doubt in our mind that challenges associated with the 4th Industrial Revolution will be addressed by the parties involved.

On these thoughts, we wish all our readers a very pleasant summer.

We’ll be back!

PS: this issue features for the first time a “comment” function for the electronic version of epi Information enabling our readers to comment on some of the contributions published. Do not hesitate to use it!