Although the final text of the EU AI Act should enter into force in the next few months, many of its obligations will only start to apply two or more years after that (for further details, see our earlier blog here). To address this gap, the Commission is encouraging industry to take early, voluntary steps to implement the Act’s requirements through an initiative it is calling the AI Pact. With the upcoming European elections on the horizon, the Commission on 6 May 2024 published additional details on the AI Pact and encouraged organizations to implement measures addressing “critical aspects of the imminent AI Act, with the aim of curbing potential misuse” and contributing “to a safe use of AI in the run-up to the election.”

What is the AI Pact?

The Commission launched the AI Pact in November 2023 with the objective of assisting organizations in planning ahead for compliance with the AI Act and encouraging early adoption of the measures outlined in the Act. Organizations involved in the AI Pact will make formal pledges to work towards compliance with the upcoming AI Act and provide specific details about the actions they are currently taking or planning to take to meet the Act’s requirements.

The AI Pact will be overseen by the Commission’s newly formed AI Office and will be structured around two pillars:

  • Pillar I: gathering and exchanging knowledge with the AI Pact network – organizations participating in the Pact contribute to the creation of a collaborative community, sharing their experiences and best practices. This will include workshops organized by the AI Office on topics including responsibilities under the AI Act and how to prepare for the Act’s implementation.
  • Pillar II: facilitating and communicating company pledges – “providers” and “deployers” of AI systems (as defined in the AI Act) will be encouraged to proactively share the concrete actions they’ve committed to take to meet the Act’s requirements and report on their progress on a regular basis. The commitments will be collected and published by the AI Office.

What does involvement in the AI Pact offer participants?

According to the Commission, the benefits for organizations participating in the AI Pact include:

  • Fostering a shared understanding of the AI Act’s goals.
  • Sharing knowledge and increasing the visibility and credibility of the safeguards put in place to demonstrate trustworthy AI.
  • Building additional trust in AI technologies.

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The Covington team continues to monitor developments on the AI Act, and we regularly advise the world’s top technology companies on their most challenging regulatory and compliance issues in the EU and other major markets. If you have questions about the AI Act, or other tech regulatory matters, we are happy to assist with any queries.

Marianna Drake

Marianna Drake is a Trainee Solicitor who attended King’s College London.

Photo of Lisa Peets Lisa Peets

Lisa Peets leads the intellectual property and technology and media groups in the firm’s London office. Ms. Peets divides her time between London and Brussels, and her practice embraces legislative advocacy, trade and IP enforcement. In this context, she has worked closely with…

Lisa Peets leads the intellectual property and technology and media groups in the firm’s London office. Ms. Peets divides her time between London and Brussels, and her practice embraces legislative advocacy, trade and IP enforcement. In this context, she has worked closely with leading multinationals in a number of sectors, including many of the world’s best-known software and hardware companies.

On behalf of her clients, Ms. Peets has been actively engaged in a wide range of law reform efforts in Europe, on multilateral, regional and national levels. This includes advocacy on EU and national initiatives relating to e-commerce, copyright, patents, data protection, technology standards, compulsory licensing, IPR enforcement and emerging technologies. Ms. Peets also counsels clients on trade related matters, including EU export controls and sanctions rules and WTO compliance.

In the IP enforcement space, Ms. Peets coordinates a team of lawyers and Internet investigators who direct civil and criminal enforcement actions in countries throughout Europe and who conduct global notice and takedown programs to combat Internet piracy.

Ms. Peets is a member of the European Commission’s Expert Group on reform of the IP Enforcement Directive.