USPTO: Artificial Intelligence Systems Cannot Legally Invent


In a key decision (that seems unlikely to be the final answer on
the topic), the US Patent and Trademark Office determined that an
artificial intelligence (AI) system can’t be an inventor of a
patent. This ruling follows similar rulings by the European Patent
Office and the UK Intellectual Property Office.


In a decision published April 27, 2020, the US Patent and
Trademark Office (USPTO) ruled that artificial intelligence (AI)
systems cannot be listed or credited as inventors on a US patent
(DABUS decision).In re Application of Application No.: 16/524,350.
The DABUS decision stated that an “inventor†under
current patent law can only be a “natural person.†This
ruling follows similar stances adopted by the European Patent
Office and the UK Intellectual Property Office.

Normally, USPTO decisions on patent appeals do not generate
widespread press, but the decision on Application No. 16/524,350 is
an exception. As AI systems continue to advance and begin to look
more like human creators, the DABUS decision likely will not be the
last time the USPTO addresses the issue of inventorship by

The Artificial Inventor Project (AIP) comprises a team of
international patent attorneys dedicated to exploring the concept
of AI patentability. On July 29, 2019, the AIP filed patents with
the DABUS AI system listed as the inventor. The application (which
remains sealed, despite the publication of the USPTO’s DABUS
decision) described “Devices and Methods for Attracting
Enhanced Attention†(DABUS application). Specifically, the
DABUS application listed the inventor’s name as “[DABUS]
and the family name ‘(Invention generated by artificial
intelligence.’†The application also listed the applicant as
the assignee “Stephen L. Thaler.†Mr. Thaler submitted a
substitute statement under 37 CFR 1.64, enabling the application to
proceed without the signature of the inventor. The application also
contained assignment documentation, assigning the entire right,
title and interest of “DABUS, the Creativity machine that has
produced the . . . invention†to Mr. Thaler himself. Mr.
Thaler executed said document on behalf of DABUS, as the legal
representative of the assignor, and on behalf of himself.

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Originally posted by:
May 11th, 2020