As artificial intelligence (AI) systems continue to generate new ideas, designs, and products, a common question emerges – can an AI system be named as an inventor on a US patent application?

The quick answer is no.

Under 35 U.S.C. 100(f), the term “inventor” means the individual or, if a joint invention, the individuals collectively who invented or discovered the subject matter of the invention.  Artificial intelligence systems are not individuals, and thus, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) maintains that AI systems cannot be named as inventors.  This is consistent with most (but not all) of the patent systems around the World.

It is worth noting, however, that humans can use AI systems in the process of creating new, patentable inventions.  However, a person who simply presents a problem to an AI system or “recognizes and appreciates” the output from the AI system as a good invention, cannot claim credit for the invention in the US patent system.

Much like the 101 analysis post-Bilski, I would anticipate several iterations and guidance from the USPTO over the next several years on this subject.

Here is another interesting article on this subject.

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