A computer using artificial intelligence can’t be listed as an inventor on patents because only a human can be an inventor under U.S. law, a federal judge ruled in the first American decision that’s part of a global debate over how to handle computer-created innovation. From a report: Federal law requires that an “individual” take an oath that he or she is the inventor on a patent application, and both the dictionary and legal definition of an individual is a natural person, ruled U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema in Alexandria, Virginia. The Artificial Inventor Project, run by University of Surrey Law Professor Ryan Abbott, has launched a global effort to get a computer listed as an inventor. Abbott’s team enlisted Imagination Engines founder Stephen Thaler to build a machine whose main purpose was to invent. Rulings in South Africa and Australia have favored his argument, though the Australian patent office is appealing the decision in that country. “We respectfully disagree with the judgment and plan to appeal it,” Abbott said in an email. “We believe listing an AI as an inventor is consistent with both the language and purpose of the Patent Act. Brinkema cited cases in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the nation’s top patent court, rejected the idea of a corporation being an inventor.
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