But what happens when it's AI that creates the invention rather than being part of the invention? That's a question the US and EU patent offices will now need to grapple.
A team of experts led by Ryan Abbott, professor of law and health sciences at the University of Surrey, recently filed two patent applications in the US and EU for two new inventions. However, they've now disclosed that both inventions were created by Dabus ("device for the autonomous bootstrapping of unified sentience"), a machine.
This challenges the traditional patent framework for the classification of inventors in patent applications. Under UK and EU law, and inventor must be a "natural person" and in the US they must be an "individual".
This is definitely one to follow for anyone with an interest in the interplay between AI and patentability.
At first glance, there is nothing special about two particular patent applications filed with agencies around the world this week: the first for a food container; the second for a flashing light to be used in emergency situations. Except for one key detail: these products were designed by a machine. In a landmark challenge to the international patents regime, a band of legal experts has called on authorities in the US and EU to recognise the “inventorship” of artificial intelligence, highlighting growing anxieties among lawmakers about the rise of machines in the creative process.