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