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Although artificial intelligence has been leading the forefront of technology, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) decided not to patent the work of these computers. In April 2020, the office ruled that only “natural persons” can be credited as inventors. In early September 2021, a district court upheld the decision that the U.S. Patent Act protects individual inventors.
Created in 1790 under George Washington’s administration, the U.S. Patent Act was passed to give inventors exclusive rights for their respective discoveries. The act paved the way for thousands of inventors to publish their work freely, from Thomas Edison’s lightbulb to Robert Fulton’s steamboat.
However, in this new era of technological advancement, increasing strides in research are being made through the assistance of artificial intelligence. These machines might not be human, but they have impacted numerous fields of study, including social media management, automated driving, archaeological research, and even vaccine development through epidemiology.
There may still be hope for artificial intelligence recognition, though. Not all countries agree with America’s approach toward this problem; a news article from The Verge confirmed that both South Africa and Australia had granted patents to an AI system called DABUS.
According to the article, an AI researcher named Steven Thaler created DABUS and is the one who sued the U.S. in this case as well. “He’s part of a group called The Artificial Inventor Project that’s lobbying for AI recognition around the globe,” says the article.
The U.S. has mandated that no AI machine can receive a patent since they are not human beings. So the real question is whether the old rules from 1790 should affect these new forms of technology and if the law needs to be followed word-for-word.
Opinion News by Ogechi Onyewuchi
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
The Verge News: AI computers can’t patent their own inventions — yet — a US judge rules; by Sean Hollister
Featured and Top Image by Gert Altmann Courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net – Public Domain
Inline Image Courtesy of Ars Electronica’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License