The Supreme Court of the United States has rejected computer scientist Stephen Thaler’s challenge over AI-generated invention patents. The court upheld a lower court’s verdict, noting that patents can only be issued to human inventors, not AI systems that produce the inventions. Thaler’s AI system, DABUS, had generated innovative prototypes for a beverage holder and an emergency light beacon, but his patent applications had been rejected by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Thaler stated that artificial intelligence (AI) is being utilised extensively to innovate in domains such as medicine and energy, and that AI-generated patents are critical to stimulating innovation and technological development. However, the court’s decision upheld the prior ruling that only human inventors can be given patents, limiting the patent system’s potential to promote innovation and growth.
Supporters of Thaler, including Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig, argued that the Federal Circuit’s decision to reject AI-generated patents “endangers billions of dollars in current and future investments, threatens US competitiveness, and results in a result that contradicts the plain language of the Patent Act.”
The Supreme Court’s decision has far-reaching ramifications for the employment of AI systems in intellectual property law and innovation. Although artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have the potential to transform the innovation landscape and enhance efficiency in a variety of industries, the current legal framework is not yet prepared to cope with AI-generated ideas. As a result, maintaining human control over AI systems and the intellectual property they generate is critical.
In the future, policymakers and legal experts will have to figure out how to control AI-generated technologies. Until a viable solution is found, the US patent system will continue to be limited to human inventors, and AI-generated ideas will reside in a legal grey area.