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

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.

AI Policy and Ethics at www.nora.ai. Student at University of Copenhagen MSc in Social Data Science. All views are my own. twitter.com/AlexMoltzau