Can a Computer Be an Inventor? The PTO Wants to Know What You Think Lexology


Artificial intelligence (AI) issues in intellectual property are becoming increasingly ubiquitous. For example, the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has issued "thousands of patents on AI technologies."1 The Persado Message Machine, which creates written content by way of data science and AI and is used by "[o]ver 250 of the world's most valuable brands," can generate marketing messages in 25 languages.2 And the University of Surrey in the UK just filed two patent applications--one that claims a "beverage container based on fractal geometry" and one that claims a device "that may help with search and rescue operations"--alleged to be the first inventions "created autonomously by artificial intelligence (AI) without a human inventor."3 Perhaps given these developments, the PTO has decided that the time is now to begin asking questions that broadly address how AI shifts our basic understanding of patent law concepts like inventorship, eligibility, enablement, and the level of ordinary skill in the art.

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