AI should be recognised as inventor, team insists

An artificial intelligence system should be credited as the
inventor of two ideas, according to the team which filed patents on its behalf –
but it would mean patent law would need to be changed in the process.

DABUS, a machine architecture, has been given credit for
designing a ‘fractal
container’ (pdf)
which is easy for robots to grasp, as well as a ‘neural
flame’ (pdf)
which attracts enhanced attention.

The Artificial
Inventor Project
has been put together to recognise the rule DABUS, a
creativity machine – a particular type of artificial intelligence – played in
the process. Patent attorneys from the University of Surrey, Williams Powell,
Dennemeyer, Flashpoint IP and Fuchs IP filed the applications, while Stephen
Thaler, an AI expert based in Missouri, created DABUS.

The team outlines its rationale. “Machines should not own
patents,” it explains. “They do not have legal personality or independent
rights, and cannot own property. The machine’s owner should be the default
owner of any intellectual property it produces and any benefits that would
otherwise subsist in an inventor who is a natural person.

“In the instant application, we submit that DABUS should be
acknowledged as the inventor of any resultant patents, with the machine’s owner
as the applicant and assignee of any such patents.”

Ryan Abbott, from the University of Surrey, told the BBC: “These
days, you commonly have AIs writing books and taking pictures – but if you don’t
have a traditional author, you cannot get copyright protection in the US. If AI
is going to be how we’re inventing things in the future, the whole intellectual
property system will fail to work.”

“It has been argued that a natural person may claim
inventorship of an autonomous machine invention even in situations in which
that person was not involved in the development or operation of a machine by
virtue of recognising the relevance of a machine’s output,” the team adds in
its patent applications page. “In some cases, recognition of the inventive
nature of a computer’s output may require significant skill, but in others, the
nature of inventive output may be obvious.

“In the present case, DABUS identified the novelty of its
own idea before a natural person did.”

You can read the full analysis here.

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