Under U.S. law, an artificial intelligence machine cannot obtain a patent. This comes after a ruling made by a federal judge in the state of Virginia. In his ruling, the judge stated that invention was something that needed to be exclusive to human beings. The ruling also comes amidst widespread confusion all over the world about the place of computer-generated innovation.
Judge rules that human beings have an exclusive right to patents
U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema in Alexandria, VA made a landmark ruling in a first-of-its-kind case on whether or not AI can obtain a patent and thus become known legally as an inventor. The federal judge ruled that a computer relying on artificial intelligence cannot be listed as an inventor and that only a human can obtain the title.
Federal law requires all individuals getting a patent to take an oath that they are the inventor listed on the patent applications, as the judge stated. He added that both the legal and dictionary definitions point to an individual being a natural person.
Surrey law professor still adamant patent rights for AI
One of the people pushing for AI to have patent rights is a law professor from the University of Surrey, Ryan Abbott. Before encountering a deadlock in the US, Abbott had encountered favorable winnings in Australia and South Africa. However, the Australian patent office has moved to appeal the rulings made in their country.
In an email, Abbott disagreed with the appeal plan saying, “we believe listing AI as an inventor is in line with both the purpose and language of the Patent Act.”
AI could transform the process of invention
Artificial intelligence relies on a machine to do the tasks that a human mind can. However, AI does so at lightning speed and promises to transform the way we invent and make new things, from autonomous cars to pharmaceuticals.
In his quest, Abbott has enlisted the help of Stephen Thaler, founder of Imagination Engines Inc. Thaler developed DABUS, a “creativity machine” that has already “invented” a “device for attracting increased attention,” and a beverage container. DABUS’s actions are some of the key motivators for Abbott and his team. They have already filed in 17 jurisdictions all over the globe seeking to have DABUS listed as an inventor.
With AI coming into the field, the process of invention could transform in ways that have not yet been witnessed. This could bring about numerous types of lawsuits as corporates clash with inventors and other business entities.