The New York Times reported that “Legal scholars, patent authorities and even Congress have been pondering that question. The people who answer “yes,” a small but growing number, are fighting a decidedly uphill battle in challenging the deep-seated belief that only a human can invent. Invention evokes images of giants like Thomas Edison and eureka moments — “the flash of creative genius,” as the Supreme Court justice William O. Douglas once put it.” The July 15, 2023 article entitled “Can A.I. Invent?” (https://www.nytimes.com/2023/07/15/technology/ai-inventor-patents.html?referringSource=articleShare) included these comments:
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has hosted two public meetings this year billed as A.I. Inventorship Listening Sessions.
Last month, the Senate held a hearing on A.I. and patents. The witnesses included representatives of big technology and pharmaceutical companies. Next to them at the witness table was Dr. Ryan Abbott, a professor at the University of Surrey School of Law in England, who founded the Artificial Inventor Project, a group of intellectual property lawyers and an A.I. scientist.
The project has filed pro bono test cases in the United States and more than a dozen other countries seeking legal protection for A.I.-generated inventions.
“This is about getting the incentives right for a new technological era,” said Dr. Abbott, who is also a physician and teaches at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Rapidly advancing A.I., Dr. Abbott contends, is very different from a traditional tool used in inventions — say, a pencil or a microscope. Generative A.I. is also a new breed of computer program. It is not confined to doing things it is specifically programmed to do, he said, but produces unscripted results, as if creatively “stepping into the shoes of a person.”
A central goal of Dr. Abbott’s project is to provoke and promote discussion about artificial intelligence and invention. Without patent protection, he said, A.I. innovations will be hidden in the murky realm of trade secrets rather than disclosed in a public filing, slowing progress in the field.
The Artificial Inventor Project, said Mark Lemley, a professor at the Stanford Law School, “has made us confront this hard problem and exposed the cracks in the system.”
What do you think?
First published at https://www.vogelitlaw.com/blog/can-ai-get-patents