An unprecedented Australian court ruling ruled that AI can be an inventorAAA IPRIGHT2
As technology keeps advancing, the problem between AI and the legal system has been more imminent than ever. Will AI have feelings like a human? Then, will AI have the rights like a human and will AI’s creation be patented and will AI be recognized as an inventor? For the last part, according to an Australian court ruling recently, AI can indeed be recognized as an inventor.
Recently, an Australian court has given an unprecedented decision that will create history in our lifetime, judging that artificial intelligence (AI) systems can be legally recognized as an inventor in patent applications. Not only a groundbreaking moment in Australia, but this decision also has immense effects in all sectors of the society in the entire world, especially in the IT field and the IP field.
What is DABUS?
The creation of DABUS, also known as “device for the autonomous bootstrapping of unified sentience” designs has set out an immense impact on every country in the world, creating heated debates about the roles of AI and IP in the next century.
DABUS is an “artificial neural system”. Basically, it is a computer system that’s been programmed to invent on its own. From the technical perspective, DABUS consists of disconnected neutral nets that continuously generate “thought processes” and “memories” which over time independently generate new and inventive outputs.
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.
All of that has changed with this Australian court ruling.
Unprecedented historical ruling
Recently, Australia’s Federal Court has made the historic finding that “the inventor can be non-human”. The decision came just days after South Africa became the first country to defy the status quo and award a patent recognizing DABUS as an inventor.
This was the result of constant efforts made by the creator of DABUS, Stephen Thaler, and his legal team. For more than 2 years, they have been waging a fierce global campaign to have DABUS in particular and AI in general to be recognized as inventors. Their main claim to this argument is that DABUS can autonomously perform the “inventive step” required to be eligible for a patent.
Dr. Thaler, a pioneer in the area of artificial intelligence and the creator of DABUS said that he is encouraged by the South African and Australian decisions, but for him, it’s never been a legal battle: “It’s been more of a philosophical battle, convincing humanity that my creative neural architectures are compelling models of cognition, creativity, sentience, and consciousness.”
Dr. Thaler also stated: “The recently established fact that DABUS has created patent-worthy inventions is further evidence that the system ‘walks and talks’ just like a conscious human brain.”
Ryan Abbott, a British attorney leading the DABUS matter and the author of The Reasonable Robot: Artificial Intelligence and the Law, says he wanted to advocate for artificial inventorship after realizing the law’s “double standards” in assessing behavior by an AI compared to behavior by a human being: “For example, if a pharmaceutical company uses an AI system to come up with a new drug … they can’t get a patent, but if a person does exactly the same thing they can.”
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