AI inventorship uncertainty because of EPO decision

14-02-2020 Print this page

Patent Strategy: "The EPO’s justification for refusing a patent application that had an artificial intelligence tool listed as the inventor does not provide enough clarity on the rules surrounding AI-generated inventions, according to in-house and private practice IP lawyers.




As one of the reasons for its decision (point 27), the EPO wrote that AI cannot have rights because it does not have a legal personality comparable to natural or legal persons. “Legal personality is assigned to a natural person as a consequence of their being human, and to a legal person based on a legal fiction. Where non-natural persons are concerned, legal personality is only given on the basis of legal fictions. These legal fictions are either directly created by legislation, or developed through consistent jurisprudence. In the case of AI inventors, there is no legislation or jurisprudence establishing such a legal fiction.” As a result, the EPO added, AI systems or machines cannot have rights that come from being an inventor, such as the right to be mentioned as the inventor or be designated as an inventor in a patent application.


But the DABUS team says it is not arguing that AI should own the rights to the patents, but rather that the tool should be given the status of inventor."


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For further information:

Press release from EPO about the refusal of the patent applications

Grounds for the EPO decision of 27 January 2020 on EP 18 275 163

Grounds for the EPO decision of 27 January 2020 on EP 18 275 174