Only ‘natural persons’ can be recognized as patent inventors, not AI systems, US judge rules

This isn’t over says man pushing for neural networks’ rights

AI systems cannot be granted patents and will not be recognised as inventors in the eyes of the US law, said a federal judge who decided to uphold a previous ruling by the US Patent and Trademark Office this week.

Stephen Thaler, founder of Imagination Engines, a company in Missouri, applied in 2019 for two US patents describing a food container based on fractal geometry and an emergency light beacon. Instead of putting his own name on the applications, however, Thaler gave all the credit to DABUS, a neural network he built and claimed came up with both creations.

The US Patent and Trademark Office, however, rejected both applications and said only “natural persons” are allowed to be named as an inventor on the patent paperwork. Thaler in response sued Andrei Iancu, who was the director of the patent office at the time, in federal court in eastern Virginia to challenge that decision.