Can Works and Inventions Created by Artificial Intelligence Be Protected by Intellectual Property?

  • January 14, 2020
  • William Chalmers, Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP

Artificial intelligence (AI) has progressed to the point of creating original works of art as well as inventions. It has moved beyond being used as a mere tool for human authors and inventors and is now coming up with ideas that the users and programmers of the AI never envisioned. For example, Google’s DeepDream uses a neural network to create dream-like hallucinogenic images, and the AI creativity machine named DABUS has generated inventions for a “Fractal Container” and a “Neural Flame”. DABUS’ inventions are apparently so inventive that the team at the Artificial Inventor Project has filed patent applications worldwide with the World Intellectual Property Organization, and the US, UK and European patent offices, naming DABUS as the inventor. A goal of the Artificial Inventor Project is to push patent law forward and challenge whether AI can be recognized as an inventor.

Although the DABUS applications have not been filed in Canada, the foregoing raises questions on how Canadian intellectual property (IP) law applies to computer-generated works and inventions.