PatentNext Takeaway:  The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently issued examination guidance regarding patentability for artificial intelligence (AI)-assisted inventions. The guidance states that AI-assisted inventions are not “category unpatentable.” Instead, when a natural person provides a “significant contribution” to an invention, such an invention can be patentable even if an AI system contributed to the invention. While the guidance does not constitute law, it is grounded in law, i.e., the Federal Circuit’s so-called Pannu factors, which serve as a test for ensuring that a natural person contributed, at least in part, to the conception of the invention as required in the Federal Circuit’s Thaler decision on AI inventorship. The guidance also provides several useful guidelines and examples to help patent practitioners determine what constitutes a “significant contribution” for purposes of establishing natural person inventorship and, thus, patentability for AI-assisted inventions.  Continue Reading The U.S. Patent Office provides Inventorship Guidance for AI-Assisted Inventions

PatentNext Takeaway: The President’s recent Executive Order (EO) regarding artificial intelligence (AI) addresses, among other things, intellectual property (IP). The EO directs the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and U.S. Copyright Office to provide guidance and recommendations on IP issues of patent inventorship, patent eligibility, and copyright authorship in view of Artificial Intelligence (AI). While the guidance and recommendations will not have the force of law, they are nonetheless expected to include data and insights from stakeholders that could form a basis for future legislation and/or provide persuasive information as AI-related cases find their way into U.S. courts.  Continue Reading Intellectual Property (IP) impacts from President Biden’s Executive Order on Artificial Intelligence (AI)

PatentNext Takeaway: Companies have increased access to artificial intelligence (AI) tools, such as ChatGPT and Github Copilot, which promise to improve the efficiency and work product output of employees. However, the adoption of such AI tools is not without risks, including the risk of loss of intellectual property (IP) rights. Accordingly, companies should proceed with caution by considering developing an AI policy to help eliminate or mitigate such risks. An AI policy can look similar to, and in many cases be a supplement to, a company’s open-source software policy. Continue Reading Artificial Intelligence (AI) Policy Considerations

PatentNext Takeaway: According to a recent district court decision, an artificial intelligence (AI) cannot be an “author” as that term is defined by U.S. copyright law. This decision follows the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal’s precedent regarding a “monkey selfie” photograph, where that court found that non-humans (e.g., monkeys) lack standing to sue under U.S. copyright law. The U.S. Copyright Office has since used such rulings to deny copyright registration of works that identify non-humans (i.e., AI systems) as the sole author. Continue Reading How U.S. Copyright Law on Artificial Intelligence (AI) Authorship Has Gone the Way of the Monkey

Generative artificial intelligence (AI) systems, such as ChatGPT, can output new content based on user input. If such new content forms part of a new “invention” (i.e., part of a patent claim), does the AI system need to be listed as an “inventor”? There are currently two schools of thought for answering this question. The below article explores this further. Continue Reading Do you have to list an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system as an inventor or joint inventor on a Patent Application?

In his petition for certiorari, Stephen Thaler had asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the Federal Circuit decision in which the court ruled that artificial intelligence (AI) could not be listed as the sole inventor.  However, the Supreme Court has now denied Thaler’s petition, and it is now effectively up to Congress to act to promote any change on the issue.  As Thaler noted in his petition, this issue is unlikely to be appealed to the Supreme Court again.   Particularly, the Federal Circuit has already denied en banc rehearing; additionally, the Federal Circuit is the only court of appeals with jurisdiction over questions of patent law, so no circuit split will occur.  Indeed, as the law is essentially settled at this point, Applicants are unlikely to even file patent applications listing AI as the sole inventor, and thus the fact pattern is unlikely to repeat itself.Continue Reading The Future of AI Inventorship Following Denial of Stephen Thaler’s Petition

PatentNext Takeaway: The U.S. Copyright Office originally granted copyright registration to a comic book titled “Zarya of the Dawn.” However, upon learning that the comic book included images created by an AI tool, the Office canceled the original registration but allowed a new registration more narrowly focused on the contributions of the human author, namely the text of the comic book and the selection of arrangements of the AI-generated images. Continue Reading U.S. Copyright Office Partially Allows Registration of Work having AI-generated Images (“Zarya of the Dawn”)

PatentNext Summary: Following the August 2022 Federal Circuit decision in Thaler v. Vidal, 43 F.4th 1207 (Fed. Cir. 2022), in which the court ruled that artificial intelligence (AI) could not be an inventor by itself, the USPTO has now requested comments regarding AI and inventorship. Continue Reading USPTO Request for Comments on AI as an Inventor

PatentNext Summary: In August 2022, the Federal Circuit in Thaler v. Vidal held that U.S. patent law requires a “human” inventor. In 1884, the U.S. Supreme Court in Burrow-Giles Lithographic Co. v. Sarony held that a human could be the “author” of a photograph. In both cases, a type of “machine” was used to produce an output. Namely, in Thaler a “creativity machine” (a type of Artificial Intelligence (AI)) output and conceived the subject matter of a patent application allegedly without human involvement. In Burrow-Giles a camera output (captured) a photograph, but with human involvement (i.e., the photographer selected and arranged the scene of the photograph). While the Thaler court found that a machine alone cannot be an inventor, it raised the possibility of AI-assisted inventorship that included human involvement (e.g., sole or joint inventorship). Future courts considering the issue of AI inventorship could find the 1884 case of Burrow-Giles instructive, where the photographer’s selection and arrangement for the scene of a photograph in 1884 provides a useful analogy to a modern-day human AI developer’s selection and arrangement of training data, hyperparameters, or other features typically required to train and/or use an AI model.
Continue Reading The Curious Case of Burrow-Giles Lithographic (an 1884 U.S. Supreme Court decision involving “new” camera technology), and how it could help Shape Today’s Thinking on Artificial Intelligence (AI) Inventorship

PatentNext Summary: The Legal Board of Appeal (the “Board”) of the European Patent Office (EPO) recently suggested that the owner of an artificial intelligence (AI) machine could possibly be listed as an inventor of an AI-generated Invention. This suggestion arguably opens the door for companies or individuals, who own or use AI-generating machines, to designate themselves (instead of the AI machine) as the “inventor” on a patent application, even where the invention was wholly conceived by the AI machine itself.
Continue Reading European Patent Office (EPO) Suggests that the Owner of an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Machine Could be Listed as the Inventor of an AI-Generated Invention