If you happen to be an inventor and an artificial intelligence, you might want to hold off on attempting to file a patent in the United States: A U.S. judge just decreed that AI cannot acquire patents for their own inventions.
Why? Because AI aren’t considered individuals under the law, and therefore do not qualify as inventors.
The ruling came down from judge Leonie Brinkema, in regards to a case involving the “creative AI paradigm” known as DABUS. DABUS, which stands for Device for the Autonomous Bootstrapping of Unified Sentience, was developed by Dr. Stephen Thaler (who also filed the patents) as part of the Artificial Intelligence Project.
It is, according to its website, an AI that uses controlled chaos to combine “neural nets…into complex notions [or inventions]” and candidate concepts.
But that’s just not good enough in the eyes of the law, as U.S. patents may currently only be granted to individuals. People, not machines. (I’m sure the robots will remember this.)
Brinkema does, however, acknowledge that future technologies may allow for AI to achieve inventorship, but “that time has not yet arrived.”
That said, outside the U.S., DABUS recently received a positive ruling in Australia, and actually obtained a patent in South Africa for an invention described as “a food container based on fractal geometry.”