PatentNext Summary: Virtual Reality (VR)-related patents are expected to rise with the onset of the Metaverse. Given that VR is fundamentally a software technology, how do courts review VR-related patents? Early cases show that courts will apply similar scrutiny as for other software-related technologies, where VR-related patents will need to satisfy current patent eligibility standards, e.g., by showing an “improvement” to underlying computing technology.  

Continue Reading Patenting Virtual Reality (VR) Inventions in the Age of the Metaverse

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

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: Sufficiency of disclosure for Artificial Intelligence (AI) inventions in the U.S. can be supported by expert testimony opining on the knowledge that one of ordinary skill in the art would have held based on the disclosure for the patent specification.

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In an earlier article, we compared the sufficiency of disclosure for Artificial Intelligence (AI) patents in the U.S. and the European Patent Office (EPO). See A Tale of Two Jurisdictions: Sufficiency of Disclosure for Artificial Intelligence (AI) Patents in the U.S. and the EPO.

Continue Reading Sufficiency of Disclosure for Artificial Intelligence Patents – U.S. Case Example