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A machine as an inventor?

Artificial intelligence (AI) can certainly make inventions. However, AI cannot be registered as inventor at the moment.

The DABUS case has caused a sensation in this context. These are two inventions with a great peculiarity: They were not made by a human being, but by a machine. The attempt of an individual to register the machine as inventor under the name DABUS failed.

"The machine identified the novelty of his own idea before a natural person did," the applicant stated.

But the EPO rejected the patent application anyway. The requirements that an inventor must be a natural person are not met. In its decision, the EPO refers to the legal framework of the European patent system as well as internationally applicable standards. Giving a name to the machine in order to register it as an inventor is far from sufficient.

However, AI is already an integral part of many innovative processes. The EPO's decision not to register a machine as an inventor does not end the debate about AI.

Inventions of artificial intelligence can certainly have an influence on the patent system:

  • AI inventions cannot be patented.
    If an invention is patented, licenses can be granted for its use.
    A patent can also increase the awareness of the invention by marketing it.
  • People pass off AI discoveries as their own inventions.
    A debate about scientific and truthful basic premises arises.
  • Our legal system would have to adapt.
    AI cannot yet defend interests, claims and rights as an independent legal entity.

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