U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Computer Scientist’s Lawsuit over AI-Generated Inventions
On April 24, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge by a computer scientist, Stephen Thaler, to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) refusal to issue patents for inventions his artificial intelligence system created. Reuters writes that the Court turned away his appeal of a lower court’s ruling that patents can be issued only to human inventors and that his AI system could not be considered the legal creator of two inventions that he has said it generated.
Previously, the USPTO and a federal judge in Virginia rejected his patent applications for the inventions on the grounds that DABUS is not a person. The patent-focused U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld those decisions last year and said U.S. patent law unambiguously requires inventors to be human beings. The Federal Circuit’s opinion (decided August 5, 2022) stated that in lieu of an inventor name, “Thaler wrote on the applications that “the invention [was] generated by artificial intelligence.” To satisfy 35 U.S.C. 115’s requirement that inventors submit a sworn oath or declaration when applying for a patent, “Thaler submitted a statement on the DABUS’s (the AI system) behalf,” while also submitting a supplemental “Statement on Inventorship” explaining that DABUS was “a particular type of connectionist artificial intelligence” called a “Creativity Machine.” The Federal Circuit held, however, that “the Patent Act, when considered in its entirety, confirms that “inventors” must be human beings.”
Thaler’s writ of certiorari seeking appeal to the Supreme Court, declined by the Court, asserted 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.”
See the Reuters article in full at US Supreme Court rejects computer scientist’s lawsuit over AI-generated inventions | Reuters
See the Federal Circuit opinion at21-2347.OPINION.8-5-2022_1988142.pdf (uscourts.gov)