In Australia, a court ruled that artificial intelligence could be an inventor under national patent law
The AFC upheld the right of artificial intelligence to be considered an inventor when registering an intellectual property right. This decision was made at the hearing in the case of Stephen Thaler on July 30.
Federal Judge Justin Beach ruled that the Patent Committee had erred in denying artificial intelligence the right to be considered an inventor. The court ruling emphasizes that the country’s patent law does not stipulate that an applicant for a patent must necessarily be a human being.
The judge appeals with the term “agent”, which, in his opinion, can be an animate or inanimate object that invents things.
Thus, the court ordered the Australian Patent Committee to reconsider the statement, this statement and its reasons for refusal.
Stephen Tatler has applied for patents from the Dabus neural network around the world, including the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand. In most countries, these applications were rejected on the grounds that the inventor must be a human being. At the moment, Dabus has registered its first and only patent in South Africa.
Dabus’ inventions include a new type of food container and hazard warning lights.
The development of artificial intelligence systems has led to the expansion of the tasks they perform – now a neural network can practically everything, including creating new inventions. National and international legislation, as a rule, adapts to such transformations taking place in society, but until now the problem of regulating the intellectual property of neural networks has not been resolved.
The decision of the AFC may lead to more active discussion of this issue and, perhaps, its further settlement. However, this process can be long and painful, since such giants of intellectual property as the US, EU and UK, legally recognize only a person as a subject of patent rights. In Australia, the recognition of a neural network as an “inventor” became possible largely due to a fairly broad interpretation of the concept of “agent” in the country’s legislation.
Many patent experts criticized the Australian court ruling. For example, industry expert Mark Summerfield predicts a large number of junk patents.
“The current state of technological development suggests that for the foreseeable future, AI will be<…> a tool that is used by a human inventor,” said a spokesman for the European Patent Office.