The Korean giant was also accused of infringing the same technology, moving it to persuade the USPTO to review the validity of the patents in the first place. Apple still faces a review of the other two patents, verdicts for which should arrive on April 4 and May 30. Only then will we know if the iPhone-maker needs to issue a payout, and for how much. For Apple's part, it not only claims the patents are invalid, but that it doesn't even use the techniques they cover. SmartFlash, which makes its money licensing patents, can challenge the USPTO's decision.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a request for information seeking industry and academia feedback on the latest artificial intelligence tools to bolster the agency's internal search function. Patent examiners have a tough job: reviewing millions of applications submitted each year to discover whether they truly add anything unique to the body of human knowledge. As the amount of knowledge--data--in the world increases exponentially, those examiners are looking for help from a digital counterpart. When an application is submitted to USPTO, an examiner is assigned the case and begins sifting through all available data related to the invention in an effort to find "prior art," or "all information that has been made available to the public in any form before a given date that might be relevant to a patent application's claims of novelty and non-obviousness," according to the office. This task is fast becoming too large for any human to accomplish on their own.
Artificial intelligence has myriad use cases, but it turns out inventing devices isn't one of them -- at least in the eyes of the US Patent and Trademark Office. The agency issued a decision on two patent applications for devices created by an AI system, determining that only humans can legally be credited as inventors. The items in question -- an emergency flashlight and a shape-shifting drink container -- were the brainchildren of a system called DABUS. The Artificial Inventor Project filed the applications last year on behalf of the AI's creator, Stephen Thaler. AIP lawyers argued that, since Thaler didn't have any expertise in either of those types of products and couldn't have come up with them by himself, DABUS should be the credited inventor.
The number of patents for inventions based on artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning continues to grow rapidly. Some of these inventions relate to AI technology per se, and some relate to the use of AI in specific applications, including many in healthcare, financial services and blockchain, among other industries. The USPTO has addressed various aspects of intellectual property issues with these technologies in various ways, including in an event it hosted entitled "Artificial Intelligence: Intellectual Property Policy Considerations (January 2019)." Due to some of the unique issues with these technologies, the USPTO is considering whether it should make any changes to how it handles examination of these applications. As part of this analysis, the USPTO issued a request for public comments on protection and examination of these inventions.