AI can’t be named an inventor in Australia

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AI can’t be named an inventor in Australia

According to a decision of the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia in April 2022AI can’t be named an inventor in Australia.

The debate over the naming of an AI as an inventor in Australia alone and in the entire world, in general, has been going on for quite some time. 

More specifically, the heated discussion was brought by Dr. Thaler over his super AI, DABUS – an “artificial neural system” known as the “device for the autonomous bootstrapping of unified sentience”

In 2019, 2 patent applications that have DABUS as the inventor was filed in more than 10 countries and the European Union. Although the applications list DABUS as the inventor, Dr. Thaler is still the owner of the patent. This implies that these countries and their IP office don’t want to advocate for property rights for AI. 

However, although the implications are clear, these countries don’t make any real attempt to block the road of Dr. Thaler and his team. The team has made such great progress until one country directly stood in their way – Australia, stating that there is no way an AI can be named an inventor in their country. 

Battle for the recognition of AI as an inventor

With regards to the battle for recognition in Australia, in the beginning, the Patent Office of Australia rejected DABUS as the inventor since the AI system was not a natural person.

However, Australia’s Federal Court ruled that AI may indeed be named an inventor. The Commissioner of Patents appealed this decision to the Full Court of the Federal Court.

In April 2022, the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia has ruled that an “inventor” must be a natural person, according to the regulations stipulated in the Patents Act 1990 and the Patent Regulations 1991. 

Consequently, the Court has judged that AI cannot be identified as an investor in a patent application, overturning the ruling for Thaler v. Commissioner of Patents [2021] FCA 879 which stated that AI can indeed be named as an inventor. 

Expert opinions

Although there may be mixed opinions worldwide about the ruling of the Full Court, in Australia, however, the people or the experts in this jurisdiction seem to share the same opinions with the final decision of the legal system. 

Nina Fitzgerald, a partner at Ashurst in Sydney stated that the ruling is consistent with many previously established aspects of Australia, such as the history of Australian patents legislation, the language, and structure of the provisions in the current act as well as the positions on the matter of key overseas jurisdictions such as the US, UK, and European Union.

This move by the legal court system also proves to include the comprehensive ideas of the foundation of the law of Australia, meaning that to be an inventor or creator of anything such as in copyright, there must be a ‘person’ behind such creation, invention, etc. 

Fitzgerald clearly stated her views on the matter: “In my view, it is not appropriate for legislative reforms to permit AI systems to be named as inventors. AI systems do not have an identity, name, address, or nationality and cannot give evidence therefore naming an AI system on a patent application is effectively meaningless. Rather, legislative reforms might deem any creation by an AI system to be the property of the person that owns, trains or creates the AI system or the person to whom the AI system communicates the inventive concept may be named as the inventor.”

***Other Articles***

– You could see the Procedure of Trademark in Australia here.

– You could visit here to see the Required documents of filing trademark in Australia.

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