Ought to an artificially clever machine be capable of patent its personal innovations? For a US federal decide, the bigger implications of that query have been irrelevant. In April 2020, the US Patent and Trademark Workplace (USPTO) dominated that solely “natural persons” might be credited because the inventor of a patent, and a US courtroom determined Thursday that sure, that’s what the regulation technically says (through Bloomberg).
Not each nation agrees with that route. South Africa and Australia decided to go the other direction, granting one patent and reinstating a second patent software filed by AI researcher Steven Thaler, whose AI system DABUS reportedly got here up with a flashing gentle and a brand new kind of meals container. Thaler is the one who sued the US on this case as nicely — he’s a part of a gaggle known as The Artificial Inventor Project that’s lobbying for AI recognition across the globe.
You’ll be able to learn the US’s entire resolution in opposition to Thaler for your self on the backside of this put up, nevertheless it’s fairly easy whenever you boil it down:
- The US Patent Act says inventors an inventor should be an “individual”
- Earlier authorized selections have clarified that “individuals” need to be individuals (not, say, firms)
- It’s additionally fairly clear from context that the Patent Act was referring to individuals
- AI methods should not individuals
Oh, and the courtroom says it might probably solely overrule a US company’s resolution if it’s arbitrary, capricious, or clearly unlawful — however on this case, the USPTO already laid out its whole reasoning why it plans to stay to the established order final April. It additionally requested for public remark in 2019, earlier than it made its ruling.
As to the larger query, US District Choose Leonie Brinkema had this to say:
“[T]here may come a time when artificial intelligence reaches a level of sophistication such that it might satisfy accepted meanings of inventorship. But that time has not yet arrived, and, if it does, it will be up to Congress to decide how, if at all, it wants to expand the scope of patent law.”