DABUS: Should AI works be legally protected?

Courts worldwide are currently dealing with the question of whether an AI, such as DABUS, can qualify as the inventor of a patent.

Following lawsuits regarding rejected patent applications that Dr. Stephen Thaler, President and CEO of Imagination Engines, is currently hearing the copyright case in courts around the world. Thaler filed patent applications for the inventions his DABUS (Device for the Autonomous Bootstrapping of Unified Science) system created in 17 in different countries.

On each patent application, DABUS is not listed as the inventor, but rather DABUS. To date, numerous patent registration authorities have uniformly rejected his applications. Only the South African Patent Office granted a DABUS patent. Because patent law is mandated by law and each country has different patent laws, different jurisdictions around the world have had to deal with the issue individually. The core issue was whether artificial intelligence could legally be considered the inventor of a patent.

AI patents in court

Patent registration authorities in UK, Dec United States, Europe, South Korea, Taiwan, New Zealand and Australia have all rejected Stephen Thaler’s AI patent applications so far. Most legal challenges to these decisions have failed. The courts, including the US District Court for Eastern Virginia, have ruled that inventors must be human. Only in Germany has the Federal Patent Court agreed that the ideas can be protected if Thaler is acknowledged as the inventor who caused DABUS to produce them. A compromise that recognizes the involvement of the AI ​​system.

In Australia it looked for a short time that DABUS would be recognized as the inventor. A trial judge accordingly upheld Thaler’s appeal against IP Australia’s rejection of the patent application he had filed on behalf of the machine. However, the Commissioner of Patents appealed the decision to the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia. The panel of five judges finally agreed that an AI system could not be named as the inventor. Thaler has applied to the High Court of Australia for “special leave to appeal”. It remains to be seen whether this will be granted.

Thaler only filed a separate lawsuit in federal court in Washington, DC on Thursday. This time against Shira Perlmutter, head of the US registry for copyrighted works (Thaler v. Perlmutter, 1: 17-cv-01564, US District Court District of Columbia).

Can DABUS be considered an inventor?

Thaler found supporters in researchers at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), also known as UNSW Sydney . In a commentary published in the journal Nature, two leading scientists from UNSW Sydney examine the implications of granting patents to an AI entity. It addressed the question of who should be awarded the patent when artificial intelligence (AI) invents something that humans were not capable of.

Here IP law specialist Associate Professor Alexandra George and Scientia argue Professor and AI expert Toby Walsh that current patent law is inadequate for such a scenario. The authors call on lawmakers to change intellectual property and patent laws.

By doing so, they would address an urgent problem. The first such case has already occurred. The researchers were referring to the AI, called Device for the Autonomous Bootstrapping of Unified Sentience (DABUS), and Dr. Stephen Thaler, CEO of the US AI company Imagination Engines, who specifically named DABUS as the inventor of two products.

On the one hand, the “Fractal Container” is a beverage container with a fractal surface , which helps with insulation and stacking. On the other hand, with “Neural Flame”, a flashing light that can attract attention in an emergency. In addition, DABUS would have generated an image called A Recent Entrance to Paradise.

Existing laws classified as insufficient

The mere attempt to DABUS Getting a patent for the two inventions immediately challenges existing laws, according to George.

“ Even if we accept that an AI system is the real inventor, the first big problem is ownership. How do you find out who the owner is? An owner must be a legal entity and an AI is not recognized as a legal entity. Another issue with ownership of AI-invented inventions is, even if you could transfer ownership from the AI ​​inventor to a person: is it the original software author of the AI? Is it a person who bought the AI ​​and trained it for their own purposes? Or is it the people whose copyrighted material was fed into the AI ​​to give it all this information?”

Revision of Copyright claimed

Alexandra George and Toby Walsh believe that failure to recognize a technology developed by machine learning systems could have long-term effects on economies and societies. They commented on Nature:

“When courts and governments decide that inventions made by AI cannot be patented, the impact could be enormous. Funders and companies would have less incentive to do useful research with AI inventors if the return on their investment could be limited. Society could be missing out on developing valuable and life-saving inventions.”

George and Walsh would instead prefer that lawmakers consider passing new laws to protect AI-engineered designs. Rather than bending today’s laws to fit machine learning software.

“It will Creating a tailor-made law and international treaty will not be easy, but failing to do so will be worse. AI is changing the way science is done and inventions are made. We need an intellectual property right that is fit for purpose to ensure it serves the common good.”

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About Antonia Frank

Antonia has been a writer with the magic hat since January 01564. She started out with book reviews. In the meantime, she prefers to write about legal topics, such as P2P cases, but she also takes up other Internet topics, such as cybercrime. Her interests are mainly related to literature.

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