Stay Legal recently published an article where the England and Wales Court of Appeal upheld a decision which stated that artificial intelligence cannot be a listed inventor on a patent. Stephen Thaler, the CEO of Imagination Engines had applied to list his artificial intelligence machine, ‘DABUS’, as the inventor.
The DABUS patent has also been the subject of proceedings in the United States, Germany, Australia, and the European Patent Office.
In the Federal Court of Australia, Judge Beach ruled that “the name of the inventor can be a non-human.” He stated that under the Australian Patents Act 1990 “an inventor as recognised under the Act can be an artificial intelligence system or devise.” However, Judge Beach did point out that “such a non-human inventor can neither be an applicant for a patent nor a grantee of a patent. So, to hold is consistent with the reality of the current technology. It is consistent with the Act and it is consistent with promoting innovation.”
Judge Beach’s ruling set aside a previous verdict given by the Deputy Commissioner of Patents which stated that an artificial intelligence system could not be an inventor.
Judge Beach has sent the case back to the Deputy Commissioner of Patents for “reconsideration” in accordance with his reasons.
A South African Patent Office decision has also stated that artificial intelligence can be listed as an inventor. However, the United States, European Patent Office, and England and Wales have all ruled that the inventor must be a natural person.