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.

Photo of Marianna Drake Marianna Drake

Marianna Drake counsels leading multinational companies on some of their most complex regulatory, policy and compliance-related issues, including data privacy and AI regulation. She focuses her practice on compliance with UK, EU and global privacy frameworks, and new policy proposals and regulations relating…

Marianna Drake counsels leading multinational companies on some of their most complex regulatory, policy and compliance-related issues, including data privacy and AI regulation. She focuses her practice on compliance with UK, EU and global privacy frameworks, and new policy proposals and regulations relating to AI and data. She also advises clients on matters relating to children’s privacy, online safety and consumer protection and product safety laws.

Her practice includes defending organizations in cross-border, contentious investigations and regulatory enforcement in the UK and EU Member States. Marianna also routinely partners with clients on the design of new products and services, drafting and negotiating privacy terms, developing privacy notices and consent forms, and helping clients design governance programs for the development and deployment of AI technologies.

Marianna’s pro bono work includes providing data protection advice to UK-based human rights charities, and supporting a non-profit organization in conducting legal research for strategic litigation.

Photo of Marty Hansen Marty Hansen

Martin Hansen has represented some of the world’s leading information technology, telecommunications, and pharmaceutical companies on a broad range of cutting edge international trade, intellectual property, and competition issues. Martin has extensive experience in advising clients on matters arising under the World Trade…

Martin Hansen has represented some of the world’s leading information technology, telecommunications, and pharmaceutical companies on a broad range of cutting edge international trade, intellectual property, and competition issues. Martin has extensive experience in advising clients on matters arising under the World Trade Organization agreements, treaties administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization, bilateral and regional free trade agreements, and other trade agreements.

Drawing on ten years of experience in Covington’s London and DC offices his practice focuses on helping innovative companies solve challenges on intellectual property and trade matters before U.S. courts, the U.S. government, and foreign governments and tribunals. Martin also represents software companies and a leading IT trade association on electronic commerce, Internet security, and online liability issues.

Photo of Lisa Peets Lisa Peets

Lisa Peets leads the Technology Regulatory and Policy practice in the London office and is a member of the firm’s Management Committee. Lisa divides her time between London and Brussels, and her practice embraces regulatory counsel and legislative advocacy. In this context, she…

Lisa Peets leads the Technology Regulatory and Policy practice in the London office and is a member of the firm’s Management Committee. Lisa divides her time between London and Brussels, and her practice embraces regulatory counsel and legislative advocacy. In this context, she has worked closely with leading multinationals in a number of sectors, including many of the world’s best-known technology companies.

Lisa counsels clients on a range of EU law issues, including data protection and related regimes, copyright, e-commerce and consumer protection, and the rapidly expanding universe of EU rules applicable to existing and emerging technologies. Lisa also routinely advises clients in and outside of the technology sector on trade related matters, including EU trade controls rules.

According to the latest edition of Chambers UK (2022), “Lisa is able to make an incredibly quick legal assessment whereby she perfectly distils the essential matters from the less relevant elements.” “Lisa has subject matter expertise but is also able to think like a generalist and prioritise. She brings a strategic lens to matters.”