Can an AI be an inventor?

Or is the real question: Should an AI be an inventor?

Maiwald’s Simon Lud argues that artificial intelligence systems should be granted legal personality. I’m leaning towards a different approach:

I very much enjoyed Beat Weibel‘s pragmatic point of view in an interview on Rolf Claessen‘s IP Fridays podcast. He appreciates that the DABUS project has brought up the topic. At the same time, he disagrees with the idea that it’s admissible to designate a computer as the sole inventor in a patent application.

The question comes up in cases where it’s not possible to determine a human who creatively contributed to an invention. Beat Weibel proposes to allocate the inventor rights to the company which used the AI. The idea goes back to the “company invention”, which was discussed in Germany already in the 1930ies (“Betriebserfindung”).

According to Beat Weibel, this solution prevails over the line followed by DABUS. An AI system can’t have any rights, doesn’t have any duties, and can’t assign rights. At the same time, the “company invention” solution prevents the urge to designate someone who actually isn’t the inventor just to have a name to present to the patent office.

I’m a fan of practical solutions. So I very much like the idea of assigning the invention directly to the company when it’s impossible to identify a human inventor.

What’s your opinion?

Listen to the whole episode on IP Fridays, it’s really worth it!

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By Bastian Best