Patent Update: When AI Invents | AIChE

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Patent Update: When AI Invents

Patent Update

The rapid advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) has led to unprecedented capabilities in creativity, innovation, and problem-solving. However, as generative AI becomes increasingly proficient at generating novel ideas and technological solutions that no human has conceived, the question becomes how to protect the intellectual property (IP) rights associated with AI-generated inventions. The answers may surprise you.

Protecting AI-generated inventions as patents. Consider the case of Stephen Thaler. In July 2019, he sought patent protection for two inventions with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), listing his “Device for the Autonomous Bootstrapping of Unified Science” (DABUS) as the sole inventor on both applications. Thaler asserted that he did not contribute to the conception of these inventions and that any person having skill in the art could have taken the output of DABUS and reduced its ideas to practice. Instead of an inventor’s last name, Thaler wrote on the applications that the invention was “generated by artificial intelligence.”

Under U.S. law, an inventor must be named to obtain a patent. The USPTO thus responded to Thaler by notifying him that his applications were incomplete for failure to name a valid...

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