ARTIFICIAL VS. NATURAL: SHOULD AI SYSTEMS BE NAMED AS INVENTORS ON PATENT APPLICATIONS?January 19, 2023
Artificial intelligence (“Al”) machines have refashioned the way humans invent over the pasttwo decades. Several inventions by Al machines, such as neural flashlights, fractal containers, and complex lens systems, have outperformed competitors in the market, improved efficiency in the workplace, and alleviated hazards. Recently, the patentability of these inventions has created contention in the legal arena.
Patent law in the United States traces its roots to Article l, Section 8 of the Constitution, which grants Congress the power to seek to advance and promote the progress of science and useful art. Patent law grants inventors monopolies to utilize and sell their inventions for a limited period of time to incentivize innovation so that the public may benefit from new inventions and discoveries.
Unfortunately, patent law in the United States has failed to keep pace with developments in technology, specifically as it relates to inventions developed by Al machines. To the consternation of Al developers, patent law has, ironically, become a major roadblock to patent protection of Al-generated inventions. Dr. Stephen Thaler’s recent dispute with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) illustrates the obstacles standing in the way of developers seeking to obtain patents for Al-generated inventions. Patent law’s current interpretation and application prevents inventions by Al systems from receiving patent protection. This directly frustrates the purpose of patent law, since it disincentivizes Al developers from developing creative machines and fails to facilitate the dissemination of AI-derived inventions to the public. Accordingly, to realize the full potential of American innovation, several aspects of patent law must evolve to permit AI-generated inventions to receive patent protections.
Author: Hayfa Ayoubi
Volume 24, Issue 2