The Great Artificial Intelligence Patent Debate

Nov 18, 2019

Artificial Intelligence has made its way into our world slowly but surely. Fortunately, a total robot takeover is still the stuff of science fiction. However, humans do work with and use the assistance of artificial intelligence almost daily. From asking Siri for directions to talking with chatbots online when we need help, artificial intelligence crosses our path many times throughout our daily lives.  

The patent world is headed in the direction of AI too, but the journey won’t be without controversy. Here we will talk about the debate that AI has been bringing to the forefront lately and how the patent world is adapting to the dilemmas posed by AI. 

The Modern AI Patent Conundrum

Though AI has helped us in many ways, with innovation always comes questions about how to handle it responsibly. In regards to patents, AI has caused a bit of an ethical debate. As of late, patent professionals have been posing this question: If an AI machine or technology assisted in whole or part of the process of inventing something, should that AI be considered the inventor? 

The debate was brought about recently when it was discovered that English researchers along with the U.S. based inventor of an algorithm named Dabus AI, filed a patent with the algorithm itself listed as the inventor. Dabus AI invented two different products. However, patent authorities throughout the world insist on inventorship being attributed only to people (in order to avoid acknowledging corporate inventorship). Not only does the debate question the ethics of naming AI, not a human, as an inventor, it also creates a precedent that may come into play further down the line... whether machines would then have the same rights as humans in other aspects. 

The debate brings about controversy because some people agree and some disagree. Some argue that recognition of an AI's inventorship could be huge and beneficial, as machine learning and technology can be naturally better at some things than humans, creating greater efficiency for our world. Others disagree, saying that the argument is illogical, since machines cannot and have not previously been named the inventor of a product. In that case, the patent ownership would likely go to the machine’s owner. 

This has caused so much of a debate that the USPTO is seeking public comment on the matter. This shows how prominent AI may become in the future and how much it can expand our world and personal views.    

Adapting to a Changing Future

The USPTO is further preparing to adapt to a changing future with AI’s presence, as they are currently looking to hire a senior artificial intelligence technical expert, the first ever that they’ve hired. In addition to seeking public comment on the role of AI in patents, this hiring move marks a recognition of the prominence of artificial intelligence in today’s world and the role that intellectual property plays in that development and advancement.  

If you have an idea for a patent that you want to be a part of the AI revolution, Global Patent Solutions can help. Contact us today



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