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US Patent Office: AI Cannot Be a Legal Inventor

  • May 20 2020

As Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to become more and more prevalent, it’s only natural that we start to imagine it helping in various scenarios. If you have wondered if AI systems can be credited as an Inventor of a patent, we finally have an answer.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has recently stated that AI systems may not be credited as an Inventor of a patent. The patent applications that prompted this statement were two applications created by DABUS, an AI system. One patent was for a flashing light while the other was for a food container. 

USPTO Cites ‘Human’ Terms

One of the USPTO’s arguments for their position was based on the fact that U.S. patent law refers to “individual” inventors using humanlike words such as “himself,” “herself,” and “whomever.” However, those behind the DABUS patent applications, the Artificial Inventor Project, have taken the position that these words, such as “individual” could also be utilized to describe a machine. The USPTO views this argument as too broad of an interpretation. The USPTO concluded that “under current law, only natural persons may be named as an inventor in a patent application.”

The Artificial Inventor Project also submitted the same patent applications to the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) as well as the European Patent Office (EPO), however they have faced the same results, with both agencies determining that DABUS could not be listed as an Inventor. 

AI Inventor Project Argues Approval Would Increase the Value of AI

It is important to distinguish that the Artificial Inventor Project has not argued that the AI should be the owner of the patent; just that it should be included as an Inventor. One of the group’s concerns is that if so many people work on code for a system without any of them working closely enough to be able to claim all of the credit for it, it may prove all together impossible to patent. 

The Artificial Inventor Project also argued that by allowing AI to be listed as an inventor, it would increase the value of AI by showing what it contributed to the creative process. However, without a change to patent inventorship law, Ai will continue to be looked at as merely a tool; not a creator.

Scully, Scott, Murphy & Presser Can Help Protect Your Inventions and Your Rights

If you or a loved one has an issue with a product or procedure that you wish to have protected, or if you have an existing patent that you believe is being infringed upon, it is in your best interest to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced patent attorney in order to determine your best options. 

At Scully, Scott, Murphy & Presser, our qualified patent attorneys can help you to navigate the patent application process or can help to defend your patent and your rights regarding any infringement. To learn more about the patent prosecution process or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

Posted in: Patents