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18 Mar 2023

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Can an AI Be Granted a Patent?

Because ChatGPT and other generative AI persona that will soon emerge are able to absorb tremendous amounts of published material, they can have the appearance of prodigious minds, even if they don't always know precisely how to use this knowledge base. Recently, they've been able to do things such as hypothetically qualify for law schools and become professional writers.

Now, a real human being has petitioned the United States Supreme Court to consider his belief that AI systems can be granted a patent. Stephen Thaler, CEO of Imagination Engines, Inc., in St. Charles, MO, was rejected by lower-court decisions, which have held that only human inventors can receive patents. Thaler argues that denying patents to inventions from AIs “curtails our patent system's ability — and thwarts Congress's intent — to optimally stimulate innovation and technological progress.” He stated in his filing that "nowhere in the text of the Patent Act has Congress restricted the term 'inventor' — or the word 'individual' within its definition — solely to natural persons.”

Thaler is simultaneously battling the US Copyright Office over rights that he says should be attributed to AI-generated art.

Photograph from Stephen Thaler.

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