Federal court held that artificial intelligence cannot be listed as an ‘inventor’ according to US patent law
The US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia has issued a verdict that an artificial intelligence (AI) machine cannot be listed as an inventor under the US Patent Act. The decision concerned two patent applications filed by Stephen Thaler for an AI machine called DABUS. Both of the applications were already rejected by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the federal court upheld the Office’s view that AI algorithms cannot be listed as inventors based on the US patent laws.
The court stated that the definitions provided by the US congress for “inventor” within the Patent Act refer to an “individual” whose ordinary dictionary and statutory meaning is a natural person or a human being. Moreover, as the plain language of the law mentions personal pronouns such as “himself or herself” and the verb “believes” in adjacent terms modifying the word “individual” makes it clear that the congress was referencing a natural person.
In July, an Australian court held that the same AI machine, DABUS, could be considered as an inventor in Australia. The court further stated that it is needed to be a consideration beyond the mere dictionary definition of “inventor” as being a human and considered the decision consistent with the reality of the current technology.