USPTO Says AI-Assisted Invention Patents Hinge On Humans

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USPTO Says AI-Assisted Invention Patents Hinge On Humans

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) unveiled crucial guidelines on Monday regarding the patentability of inventions developed with artificial intelligence (AI), stressing the necessity of human involvement in the innovation process.

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USPTO Says AI-Assisted Invention Patents Hinge On Humans : Human Ingenuity at the Core

In a notice slated for publication in the Federal Register, the patent office emphasized that while AI-assisted inventions aren’t inherently ineligible for patents, the focus must remain on human contributions. This move comes as AI plays an increasingly prominent role in driving innovation across various sectors.

Striking a Delicate Balance

USPTO Director Kathi Vidal highlighted the importance of striking the right balance between incentivizing human creativity and fostering innovation in AI-assisted inventions. She emphasized that patents aim to reward human ingenuity while not obstructing future developments.

Defining Inventorship in the AI Era

The guidance clarified that under existing legal standards, individuals must make significant contributions to be named as inventors. This principle extends to cases where humans collaborate with AI systems, necessitating a substantial human role in the invention process.

USPTO Says AI-Assisted Invention Patents Hinge On Humans : Human-Centric Determinations

The Federal Circuit’s 2022 ruling reinforced that only natural persons can be considered inventors under the Patent Act, leaving the question of AI-assisted inventions’ patent eligibility unanswered. The USPTO’s guidance provides a framework for evaluating the human contribution essential for patent protection.

Role of AI in Invention Process

The office underscored that while AI systems can perform tasks akin to inventorship, it’s the human input that remains pivotal. Merely owning or overseeing an AI system isn’t sufficient for inventorship; individuals must actively contribute to the invention’s conception and development.

USPTO Says AI-Assisted Invention Patents Hinge On Humans : Disclosure and Legal Obligations

Applicants are reminded of their duty to disclose evidence if a human’s contribution to an AI-assisted invention is deemed insignificant. Attorneys are urged to delve into the role played by AI during the invention process, ensuring transparency and adherence to legal standards.

Adapting to Technological Advances

The USPTO signaled its readiness to adapt the guidelines in response to advancements in AI technology and evolving legal precedent. The guidance is open for public comments for 90 days, reflecting the agency’s commitment to staying abreast of technological innovations.