US Patent Office: AIs cannot be credited as inventors

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The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has ruled that an AI cannot be legally credited as an inventor.

AI will assist us mere humans in coming up with new innovations in the years to come. However, the USPTO will not let them take the credit.

The USPTO has rejected two early filings of inventions credited to an AI system called DABUS which was created by Stephen Thaler.

DABUS invented two devices; a shape-shifting food container, and a new type of emergency flashlight.

The filings were submitted by the Artificial Inventor Project (AIP) last year. AIP’s lawyers argued that Thaler is an expert in building AI systems like DABUS but has no experience in consumer goods and would not have created them himself.

The USPTO concluded that “only natural persons may be named as an inventor in a patent application,” under the current law.

Similar applications by the AIP in the UK and EU were rejected along the same lines by their respective patent authorities.

“If I teach my Ph.D. student and they go on to make a final complex idea, that doesn’t make me an inventor on their patent, so it shouldn’t with a machine,” Ryan Abbott, a professor at the University of Surrey who led a group of legal experts in the AI patent project, told the Wall Street Journal last year.

The case over whether only humans should hold such rights has similarities to the infamous monkey selfie saga where PETA argued that a monkey could own the copyright to a selfie.

The US Copyright Office also ruled in that instance that only photographs taken by humans can be copyrighted and PETA’s case was subsequently dismissed.

(Photo by Jesse Chan on Unsplash)

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