Supreme Court: U.S. Supreme Court asks to decide whether AI can be a patent ‘inventor’

A computer scientist who launched a global patent campaign for his inventions. artificial intelligence the system turned to the US Supreme Court Friday to hear his case.

Stephen Thaler has petitioned the Supreme Court to review an appeals court ruling that patents can only be granted to human inventors and that his AI system cannot be the legitimate creator of the inventions it generates.

Thaler said in his report that AI is being used to innovate in fields ranging from medicine to energy, and that abandoning AI-generated patents “shrinks our options.” patent the system’s ability—and frustrates the intent of Congress—to optimally stimulate innovation and technological progress.”

Thaler said his DABUS system, short for Device for the Autonomous Bootstrapping of Unified Sentience, created unique prototypes of the beverage holder and light beacon on its own.

US Patent and Trademark Office and a federal court in Virginia rejected patent applications for inventions on the grounds that DABUS is not an individual. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal District last year upheld those decisions and said that U.S. patent law explicitly requires inventors to be human.

Thaler told the Supreme Court that the law should not be interpreted as requiring a human inventor.

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“Nowhere in the text of the Patent Act did Congress restrict the term “inventor”—or the word “individual” in its definition—to individuals only,” Thaler’s petition reads. The petition states that laws such as the Patents Act “use broad language designed to accommodate technological change.”

The U.S. Copyright Office also denied Thaler’s application for copyright protection for AI-generated art, which Thaler had filed an appeal against. In a separate dispute, the office also denied copyright to images the artist made using Midjourney’s generative artificial intelligence system in February. Thaler has also applied for DABUS patents in other countries including the UK, South Africa, Australia and Saudi Arabia. Earlier this month, the UK Supreme Court heard his case.

The case of Thaler v. Vidal, U.S. Supreme Court.

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