Australian Court Overturns AI Inventorship Ruling | Morgan Lewis – Tech & Sourcing

In 2021, the Australian Federal Court ruled in a landmark case that a device could be listed for the first time as the inventor on a patent application for the purposes of the Australian Patents Act 1990 (the Act ).

The ruling related to an AI system known as DABUS developed by Dr. Stephen Thaler. Dr. Thaler filed patent applications naming DABUS as the inventor of two inventions, and the Australian Federal Court ruled that, although DABUS was not a natural person, it could be listed as the inventor.

Dr. In the United States, the United States, and the United Kingdom arguing that DABUS should be listed as the inventor, with each of those courts deciding that as such, DABUS couldn’t. A similar claim is expected to be raised in South Africa, the outcome of which is eagerly awaited.

On the appeal of the 2021 decision, a five-judge bench of the Australian Full Federal Court unanimously reversed that decision, finding that the inventor must be a natural person for the purposes of the Act. This latest development represents a significant milestone in the legal debate that judiciaries across the world are currently contending with.

This latest ruling brings Australia back into stride with the judicial rulings in Germany, New Zealand, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

In reaching its decision, the Australian Full Federal Court noted that the word “inventor” was not defined under the Act, its interpretation should follow the ordinary English meaning — ie, “the person who makes or devises the process or product.” In addition, “the law relates to the grant of a patent which is premised upon an invention for the purposes of the Act. Those who contribute to, or supply, the inventive concept are entitled to the grant. The grant of a patent for the invention rewards their ingenuity. ”

The judgment was clear that, having regard to the “statutory language, structure and history of the Patents Act, and the policy objectives underlying the legislative scheme,” it was not possible for AI to be the inventor.

Given that Dr. He has appealed to the Australian High Court. In the mentime, it is clear that it is necessary to keep pace with technological development, especially in the field of AI.

Trainee solicitor Chidi Ogbuagu contributed to this post.

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