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Can a patent be assigned to an AI? Legislation says no and fails two proposals

Two patents were credited to an artificial intelligence system called DABUS, one for an emergency flashlight, another for a flask with the ability to change shape. But the US Patent and Trademark Officenegegated the registration and says that under American law, only humans can register patents.

This case even has a simple explanation. DABUS was created by Stephen Thaler, an artificial intelligence researcher at Artificial Inventor Project (AIP). The company submitted the patents on behalf of AI because, as explained, its lawyers claim that the researcher had no experience in any of these products and therefore could not be credited for their inventions. The company suggests that these credits should be attributed to IA, who was the real inventor.

But it wasn?t just the United States patent office that denied the patent, the UK?s intellectual property office, as well as the European authority had also rejected AIP projects (which were valid if attributed to humans), raising some discussions on the topic, as referred to MIT Technology. And opinions center on the idea that artificial intelligence is just a tool that helps inventors to develop something.

However, AIP itself agrees that patents should not be attributed to an artificial intelligence system, but that it should be credited as an inventor. As MIT Technology said at the time, the creation of an AI was done by hundreds or thousands of employees who contributed to its programming, citing IBM Watson as an example, before becoming a supercomputer to solve problems. AIP even suggests in a note on its blog that if inventions cannot be attributed to someone really close to the discovery or to the respective AI system, then they should not be attributed to anyone.