Subject Matter Eligibility

PatentNext Takeaway: The concept of the “Metaverse,” while decades old, is just starting to gain traction today. Early efforts to establish the Metaverse came from the video game industry. That is, as video games have become more modern, they are increasingly designed to have interactive virtual worlds, which is a hallmark of the Metaverse. Because of this, we can expect the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and courts to look to prior art and previous cases involving video game technology to decide Metaverse-related issues in the future. For the same reason, we can also use best practices for patenting software-related technologies (upon which video game technology relies) to prepare Metaverse-related patents.

Continue Reading Exploring the Metaverse and Patent-related topics

PatentNext Summary: Artificial Intelligence (AI) Patent Application filings continue their explosive growth trend at the U.S. Patent Office (USPTO). At the end of 2020, the USPTO published a report finding an exponential increase in the number of patent application filings from 2002 to 2018. This trend has continued. In addition, current data shows that AI-related application filings pertaining to graphics and imaging are taking the lead over AI modeling and simulation applications.
Continue Reading Artificial Intelligence (AI) Patent Filings Continue Explosive Growth Trend at the USPTO

I have been monitoring patent application filings around the world that list DABUS (the “Device for the Autonomous Bootingstraiming of Unified Sentience”) as the sole inventor. At issue is whether an Artificial Intelligence (AI) machine alone can be listed as an inventor on a patent application. A detailed chart, with country-by-country decisions, can be found here: Can an Artificial Intelligence (AI) be an Inventor? 

In today’s posting, I provide updates to this article. These come from the respective decisions of the patent offices, or related appellant courts, of New Zealand, EPO, and the UK.

Continue Reading Updates on AI Inventorship: New Zealand, the EPO, and the UK allow an Artificial Intelligence (AI) machine to be listed as a Joint Inventor along with at least one Human Inventor

I am excited to announce the publication of the Intellectual Property Owner (IPO)’s white paper on “Protecting Inventions Relating to Artificial Intelligence: Best Practices.

The paper was authored by the IPO’s Software Related Inventions Committee and the Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Other Emerging Technologies Committee, of which I am a member.

Continue Reading Announcing IPO white paper on Best Practices for Protecting Inventions Relating to Artificial Intelligence

On January 6, 2022 the U.S. Patent Office (USPTO) announced a new pilot program that will allow patent applicants to delay responding to Office Actions that include issues of subject matter eligibility (SME) under 35 USC § 101/Alice. The pilot program is named the “Deferred Subject Matter Eligibility Response Pilot Program.”

Continue Reading USPTO’s Pilot Program for Deferring Subject Matter Eligibility (SME) Responses

PatentNext Summary: Software-based medical devices that focus on “data processing” can be patented. However, a patent practitioner should exercise care when drafting such claims. Otherwise, patent eligibility issues can arise. This article demonstrates countervailing Federal Circuit decisions that reached opposite patent eligibility conclusions for a pair of “data processing” medical device patents asserted by Cardionet, LLC against Infobionic, Inc.

The below article provides additional details. This article forms the second part of a multi-part series. The first part, focusing on patent-eligible software-based medical devices (i.e., “particular machines” and those having “underlying improvements”), may be found here: Patenting Software-based Medical Devices (Part 1).

Continue Reading Patenting Software-based Medical Devices (Part 2)

PatentNext Summary: The development of modern medical devices increasingly includes the use of software for performing sophisticated diagnostic or treatment-related functions. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now defines specific categories of software-based medical devices that include “Software as a Medical Device (SaMD)” and “Software in a Medical Device (SiMD).” In a similar way, courts review patents directed to software-based medical devices across several categories, which include inventions having “particular machines” (e.g., SiMD) and inventions purely involving software only (e.g., SaMD).

Continue Reading Patenting Software-based Medical Devices (Part 1)

PatentNext Summary: Computer and software-implemented inventions, especially in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI), have experienced explosive growth in both Korea and the U.S. This article compares the similarities and differences between the patent laws of the two countries and identifies considerations when drafting a software-related patent application, with a focus on AI as an example technology.

This article is co-authored by Seong Tahk AHN and Ryan N. Phelan.

Continue Reading Patenting Software Inventions in Korea and the U.S.

PatentNext Summary: Currently, patent laws require human inventors. For this reason, no country or legal jurisdiction presently allows an Artificial Intelligence (AI) to be an inventor. Such patent laws, however, are typically decades old and we can expect continued debate, and possible legislation, on the topic of whether an AI can be an inventor.

SUMMARY UPDATE (08/9/21): Since the initial post, South Africa has issued the world’s first patent that listed an AI inventor. Also, since the initial post, an Australian judge has become the first jurist to rule that AI systems can be recognized as an inventor on patent applications.

The below article provides additional details.

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Can Artificial Intelligence (AI) invent? No, according to various patent offices and patent laws around the world. Resistance to an AI as an inventor primarily stems from the fact that the written text of existing patent laws refers to human inventors, e.g., “individuals” or “persons,” which leaves little or no room for interpretation of a non-human AI as an inventor.

Continue Reading Can an Artificial Intelligence (AI) be an Inventor?

PatentNext Summary: AI-related inventions have experienced explosive growth. In view of this, the USPTO has provided guidance in the form of an example claim and an “informative” PTAB decision directed to AI-related claims that practitioners can use to aid in preparing robust patent claims on AI-related inventions.

The below article provides additional details.

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) has experienced explosive growth across various industries. From Apple’s Face ID (face recognition), Amazon’s Alexa (voice recognition), to GM Cruise (autonomous vehicles), AI continues to shape the modern world. See Artificial Intelligence.

Continue Reading How to Patent an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Invention: Guidance from the U.S. Patent Office (USPTO)