Can AI Be an Inventor of Patents?
With an interest in intellectual property it seems important to address the question that has arisen of rights and ownership. Can AI make something? Can it be the inventor?
Mostly lawyers seem interested in this matter, and those who work with new inventions.
According to a post made by IP Iustitia on the 7th of April it seems broadly the answer to both these prior questions are: no.
That is, according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), The Intellectual Property Office of the United Kingdom (UKIPO) and The European Patent Office (EPO).
In the case of Re FlashPoint IP Ltd (Application No. 16/524,350) the USPTO handed down its decision where it had to consider whether AI can be an inventor under US law.
DABUS was an AI that was created by Stephen Thaler. DABUS was solely listed as the inventor for the invention in question while Mr Thaler was listed as its representative and assignee for the rights.
The clear decision was that
Pursuant to 35 USC 115, an application for a patent has to include the name of the inventor of that invention being claimed, with "inventor" being defined as "the individual or, if a joint invention, the individuals collectively who invented or discovered the subject matter of the invention". The Commissioner then noted that the entirety of the law around this concept only speaks of 'natural persons’, i.e. humans, and that the declaration at the end of the application requires a declaration from a person. In brief, the legislation seems to therefore preclude any non-human inventors from applying for patents
Mr Thaler also applied for patents in relation to the same invention in both the UKIPO and the EPO. These were also rejected on similar grounds.
That answers the contemporary question of legal ownership in relation to AI to some extent.
Therefore, the conclusion is that AI cannot be named as the inventor or holder of a patent.
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