Artificial Intelligence Systems as Inventors? A Position Statement of 7 September 2021 in View of the Evolving Case-Law Worldwide

11 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2021

See all articles by Josef Drexl

Josef Drexl

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition; Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU)

Reto Hilty

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition; University of Zurich; Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU)

Daria Kim

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition

Peter R. Slowinski

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition

Date Written: September 7, 2021

Abstract

On 30 July 2021 the Federal Court of Australia handed down a decision in which it accepted that an artificial intelligence (AI) system called DABUS can be deemed the inventor under Australian patent law. While the decision appears ground-breaking at first sight, it was mostly based on unverified assumptions regarding the technical capabilities of AI systems in general and DABUS in particular. Furthermore, the decision omits important questions regarding the consequences that may follow from attributing inventorship to an entity that lacks legal capacity without undertaking a comprehensive analysis that would justify such attribution. This Position Statement highlights the shortcomings of the decision and points to those factual and legal questions that need to be answered first before recognising AI systems as inventors. While it responds primarily to the decision of the Australian Federal Court, the presented arguments can be of relevance for any jurisdiction dealing with the question of whether an AI system can be deemed an inventor under patent law.

Keywords: artificial intelligence; AI-generated inventions; Australian Federal Court; DABUS; inventor; inventorship; patent law

Suggested Citation

Drexl, Josef and Hilty, Reto and Kim, Daria and Slowinski, Peter R., Artificial Intelligence Systems as Inventors? A Position Statement of 7 September 2021 in View of the Evolving Case-Law Worldwide (September 7, 2021). Max Planck Institute for Innovation & Competition Research Paper No. 21-20, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3919588 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3919588

Josef Drexl (Contact Author)

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition ( email )

Marstallplatz 1
Munich, Bayern 80539
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.ip.mpg.de

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU)

Munich, 80539
Germany

Reto Hilty

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition ( email )

Marstallplatz 1
Munich, Bayern 80539
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.ip.mpg.de

University of Zurich

Rämistrasse 74/7
Zürich, CH-8001
Switzerland

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU)

Munich, 80539
Germany

Daria Kim

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition ( email )

Marstallplatz 1
Munich, Bayern 80539
Germany

Peter R. Slowinski

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition ( email )

Marstallplatz 1
Munich, Bayern 80539
Germany

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