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SCOTUS Asked To Rule On Whether AI Can Be A Patent Inventor

 |  March 20, 2023

Computer scientist Stephen Thaler petitioned the US Supreme Court on Friday to hear his case concerning the international patenting of inventions created by his artificial intelligence. Thaler has been actively seeking recognition for his AI-generated innovations through patents around the world.

Thaler requested the Supreme Court to review a ruling by the appeals court that patents may only be granted to human inventors and thus, his AI system does not qualify as the legal creator of inventions it generated.

Thaler said in his brief that AI is being used to innovate in fields ranging from medicine to energy, and that rejecting AI-generated patents “curtails our patent system’s ability — and thwarts Congress’s intent — to optimally stimulate innovation and technological progress.”

Read more: Principles of Digital Law and Ethics

Thaler’s DABUS system, which stands for Device for the Autonomous Bootstrapping of Unified Sentience, created two original prototypes: a beverage holder and a light beacon. However, the US Patent and Trademark Office, as well as a Virginia federal court rejected patent applications for these inventions based on the legal precedent that only human beings are eligible to receive patents. This judgment was further secured by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit last year.

Thaler told the high court that the law should not be read to require a human inventor.
“Nowhere in the text of the Patent Act has Congress restricted the term ‘inventor’ — or the word ‘individual’ within its definition — solely to natural persons,” Thaler’s petition said.