US judge rejects patent offer from AI ‘inventor’

Stephen Thaler had filed for patents on behalf of his DABUS machine in 2019, only for US patent officials to conclude that AI was not eligible because it is not an individual.

SAN FRANCISCO: A US judge ruled that artificial intelligence cannot obtain a patent for its creations, ruling that such a privilege is reserved for people.

District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema supported a US patent office decision to dismiss claims made in the name of a “creativity machine” named DABUS.

Brinkema issued a ruling on Thursday saying “the clear answer is ‘no'” to whether an AI machine qualifies as an inventor under patent law.

“As technology evolves, there may come a time when artificial intelligence will reach a level of sophistication that could satisfy accepted meanings of inventor quality,” Brinkema said in the decision.

“But that time has not yet come and, if it is, it will be for Congress to decide how, if at all, it wishes to expand the scope of patent law.”

Stephen Thaler had filed for patents on behalf of his DABUS machine in 2019, only for US patent officials to conclude that AI was not admissible because it is not an individual, according to court documents.

“It was the AI ​​who came up with the invention and not me, so it would be inaccurate to list me as an inventor,” Thaler said in response to an AFP investigation.

One of the alleged inventions was for a light beacon that flashed to attract attention, and the other was for a “fractal geometry-based” beverage container.

Brinkema said in the ruling that the law allows “individuals” to hold patents, and people – not machines – fall into that category.

Thaler’s attorney Ryan Abbott, who heads an artificial inventor project, said they would appeal the ruling.

“We believe that listing an AI as an inventor is consistent with both the language and the purpose of US patent law,” Abbott told AFP.

“This ruling would prohibit protection of AI-generated inventions and it diverges from recent findings of the Federal Court of Australia.”

In July, an Australian judge sided with Thaler in a legal battle to secure a patent for DABUS under the auspices of that country’s patent law, according to a copy of the ruling posted online.

“In my opinion, an inventor as recognized by law can be an artificial intelligence system or device,” the judge wrote.

“It is in accordance with the law. And it is in accordance with the promotion of innovation.”

The artificial inventor project has secured a patent for DABUS in South Africa, a world first, according to Abbott.

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