The USPTO has published a petition decision explaining that, under current law, only natural persons may be named as an inventor in a patent application. The decision is available on the Artificial Intelligence page and the Final Decisions by the Commissioner for Patents page of the USPTO website.
The application papers listed a single inventor with the given name “DABUS” and family name “(Invention generated by artificial intelligence”). The USPTO issued a Notice of Missing Parts indicating that the application does not identify each inventor by his or her legal name. A petition was then filed by the applicant to contest the Notice. The USPTO denied the petition, ruling that the patent statues preclude the interpretation of “inventor” as covering machines and to such a broad interpretation contradicts the plain reading of the patent statutes that refer to persons and individuals.
Patent offices around the world continues to grapple with the question of inventorship where AI is concerned. For example, the European Patent Office recently denied applications that listed AI as inventor. As artificial intelligence continues to gain widespread use, it will be interesting to see how the law develops in this area.