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Attack of machines
Written by: Hanna Fleisher

Debut of “Terminator. Judgment Day” movie on the screen started a heated debate about whether robots can become full members of society. At the same time, developments in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) and the emergence of humanoid robots seem to already answer this question.

Who would have thought that substantially first attempts to “humanize” AI would be in the field of patenting.

In 2018-19, several patent applications were filed with patent offices in the United States, Europe, United Kingdom and Australia, the applicant for which was the President and CEO of Imagination Engines, Inc. Stephen Thaler, but the only inventor was an artificial intelligence machine called DABUS. Stephen Thaler literally stated that his creature, on its own initiative, created the two claimed inventions, such as a fractal container and a neural flame.

Logically enough, all the patent offices withdrew the said applications. The only reason was that, by law, an inventor can only be a natural person, not a machine. Even if the term “inventor” is not clearly disclosed in patent law (as, for example, in Australia), it still means a human being.

However, Stephen Thaler did not give up and submitted an appeal. One of the arguments was that the creation and ownership of DABUS gives Thaler the right to the invention in accordance with the principle of accession. The principle itself states that ownership is established by transferring resources to the owner of some other thing that is already owned. On the contrary, the judges agreed that DABUS, in principle, cannot transfer ownership of an invention, since it cannot have ownership or beneficial interest in the property. And most importantly, he is not a subject of law and, therefore, cannot be an inventor.

In this case, it would be logical to title Stephen Thaler as the inventor, since he created DABUS. An Australian court considered this prospect and concluded that Thaler had simply received knowledge of the invention from DABUS and, thus, could not be considered an inventor. Ultimately, the situation was hopeless for Stephen Thaler, and he lost the courts, therefore, AI objects so far cannot claim the title of the inventor. Although, given that the robot Sophia has received citizenship of Saudi Arabia, it will only be a matter of time.

Of course, the result of this trial, even for people ignorant of patent law, seems quite logical. However, one very important lesson can be learned from this situation – a critical step in obtaining a patent is risk analysis. In fact, in the said case, the applicant spent financial resources on the drafting and filing of the applications to several patent offices, as well as on the court procedures. But most importantly, the applications were published and information about inventions was disclosed, but not protected by a patent.

Therefore, if you need to analyze all possible risks for protecting your particular invention, we suggest visiting the territory of professionals in the field of patenting – INTECTICA company. Our scientific and patent department will help plan the protection of your ideas and will conduct your protection in all countries of the world. We bring new products to the market of all countries of the world, and also carry out direct office work in the countries of the European Union, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, you can find out more on our website.

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