Recent cases in five jurisdictions have opined on whether an artificial intelligence system (“AI”) can be an “inventor” in an application for a patent. This blog post summarizes the inventions at issue, the relevant cases, and what these developments may mean for Canadian patent law.
The Inventions & Applications
DABUS is a system of interconnected neural networks that can design new products. The user inputs information about existing products and identifies the variables used to judge the quality of those products. DABUS then creates products with the same functionality and refines them to maximize those variables. In late 2018, DABUS created two inventions: (1) a food container with superior interconnectivity, grip, and heat transfer; and (2) a method to modulate pulses of light to make a beacon more easily identifiable.
The creator of DABUS, Dr. Stephen Thaler, executed assignments of the inventions from DABUS to himself, and then applied for patents on the inventions in South Africa, Australia, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.