U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema in Alexandria, Virginia, ruled that under US Law, only humans or “natural person” can be an inventor on patents, not the AI-based machines – yet. The judge made this decision against someone who tried to list two designs under the name of an AI and as a part of a global debate over how to handle computer-created innovation, reports Bloomberg.
According to federal law, an “individual” has to take an oath that he/she stands beyond the invention on a patent application. Both legal and dictionary definitions of a person should be a natural person.
A global effort to count computers in the list of inventors was put forward by The Artificial Inventor Project, run by Ryan Abbott, the Law Professor at the University of Surrey. AIP has already won patents in South Africa, Australia and is now trying to get them in countries like Canada, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom, Brazil, and others.
Now coming back to the case, Imagination Engines Inc. CEO Stephen Thaler built the AI-based machine called DEBUS under AIP, whose purpose was to invent. Thaler then attempted to file a patent for a new kind of drink holder and flashing light designed by DEBUS.
However, Brinkema of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the nation’s top patent court, rejected the idea of a corporation being an inventor and ruled a decision pointing out that “inventors must take an oath and declaration to be granted a patent.”
U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema’s decision, in this case, upholds what the USPTO (US Patent and Trademark Office) cleared in 2019 i.e. Congress uses the words like “individual”; “himself”; or “herself” to describe inventors implies human beings, not machines. It also noted that the code of Federal Regulations expresses an inventor as a person several times.