A US court has once again ruled that AI software cannot be listed as an inventor on a patent

A US court has once again ruled that AI software cannot be listed as an inventor on a patent

A US court has once again ruled that AI software cannot be listed as an inventor on a patent

A US court has once again ruled that AI software cannot be listed as an inventor on a patent
zoom in / The US court (not pictured) rules that software cannot be “registered as an inventor” patent.

Ars Technique

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has ruled that AI software cannot be the registered inventor of a US patent, Reuters reportedalthough the matter may be further appealed.

The lawsuit came from Dr. Stephen Thaler, who filed two patent applications naming an AI program called “DABUS” as the inventor in 2019. The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) denied the patents, and the District Court agreed with that finding. after an appeal. Thaler appealed again in August 2022 Whether an AI can qualify as an “inventor” under US patent law. In response, the court ruled that the inventor must be a “natural person”.

The key reason for the latter denial comes from the definition of “inventor” in the Patent Act, which states that the inventor must be an “individual”. The appeals court cited the Supreme Court as defining “a person” as a human being, according to Reuters. This excludes machines, animals and software like Thaler’s “DABUS” from being defined as an inventor in a US patent.

A diagram for A
zoom in / A diagram of a “Fractal Container”, one of the US patents designed by AI.

Stephen Thaler / DABUS

“DABUS” (which stands for “Device for the Autonomous Bootstrapping of Unified Science”) is software designed to generate patentable inventions. It is key to Thaler’s plan to “challenge the international patent regime”. according to to his website. Thaler’s group has filed patents in at least 15 countries around the world mixed results until now Australia seems to be backing it, with South Africa awarded one of Thaler’s AI-powered patents as DABUS inventor.

However, Thaler’s efforts have stopped elsewhere. Thaler’s two rejected US patent applications are numbered 16/524,350 and 16/524,532 for “Fractal Container” (essentially a cup with a fractal-inspired design) and “Neural Flame” (“Devices and Methods for Enhancing Attention”), respectively. . . You can read short descriptions of them on Thaler’s website.

Thaler is no stranger to AI-related IP controversy. In an unrelated application handled by another US government agency, Thaler attempted to register a US copyright on an AI program in 2019, which was rejected and deny it again after a review at the beginning of the year. (A refreshing: Patents are registrations of technical inventions, while copyrights are registrations of works of art or literature.)

It is important to note that in Thaler’s 2019 copyright case, the US Copyright Office took the case that an AI owned the copyright instead of a human. Thaler could easily register the AI-generated artwork under his own name, and the same could happen with AI-generated patents if the patents pass review as unrelated to the AI’s authorship criteria.

Like Reuters explains, “If AI is used as a tool for invention, then, like traditional inventions, the use of tools to make an invention does not bar an applicant from an inventor’s claim.” But if the role of AI is elevated to the level of inventor, the invention cannot receive patent protection, according to the latest ruling. Thaler requested a rehearing of the case at the Federal Circuit level, so the story isn’t over yet.

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