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Australia: AI System Cannot be a Patent Inventor

Publications / May 30, 2022

Written by Haim Ravia and Dotan Hammer

A full panel of judges of the Federal Court of Australia ruled that an Artificial Intelligence system is not a “natural person” and therefore cannot be named the inventor on a patent application, even if the invention was derived from it. The decision was delivered in an appeal on Dr. Stephen Thaler’s request to apply for patent protection for his AI system’s products.

The Federal Court of Australia held that although the term “inventor” is not defined under the Australian Patents Act, it is clearly premised upon the assumption that an invention arises from the mind of a natural person who “contributes to, or supplies, the inventive concept is entitled to the grant”. The rationale behind this decision, according to the court, is that granting a patent for an invention is intended to reward an inventor’s ingenuity.

With this decision, the full panel of judges of the Federal Court of Australia overturned the previous, globally unprecedented, one-judge decision of the Federal Court, which held that an AI system can be named an inventor. The new decision aligns the Australian approach to AI-made inventions with those of the UK, the US, and the EU.

CLICK HERE to read the decision in Commissioner of Patents v Thaler [2022] FCAFC 62.

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