No… at least for now.

A recent USPTO Opinion confirms that only natural persons may be named as an inventor in a patent application.

This existential question finds origin in patent application filed last summer. The application was deemed incomplete because it did not list an inventor’s name. Rather, the inventor listed was DABUS, Invention generated by artificial intelligence. A substitute statement in lieu of a declaration under provided clarifying remarks on the inventorship, namely that the invention was conceived by a “creativity machine” named “DABUS” and it should be named as the inventor.

The USPTO issued a notice to file missing parts. A petition requesting supervisory review to have the notice to file missing parts vacated was submitted and denied, resulting in a second notice to file missing parts. This Opinion is responsive to a petition requesting reconsideration.

In its opinion, the USPTO references the statutory provisions of 35 U.S.C. §§100, 101, and 115.

  • 100 refers to “individuals”, §101 refers to “whoever invents or discovers”, and §115 refers to “each individual” and “any person”. The Manuel of Patent Examining Procedure, Federal Code of Regulations, and Federal Circuit precedent provide similar support.

In sum, human inventors cannot be replaced by machines. The case for enabling Artificial Intelligence as an inventorship entity does not overcome the plain language of the US patent laws.