A Compulsory Solution to the Machine Problem: Recognizing Artificial Intelligence as Inventors in Patent Law
Cole G. Merritt | 25 Vand. J. Ent. & Tech. L. 211 (2023)
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already disrupting and will likely continue to disrupt many industries. Despite the role AI already plays, AI systems are becoming increasingly powerful. Ultimately, these systems may become a powerful tool that can lead to the discovery of important inventions or significantly reduce the time required to discover these inventions. Even now, AI systems are independently inventing. However, the resulting AI-generated inventions are unable to receive patent protection under current US patent law. This unpatentability may lead to inefficient results and ineffectively serves the goals of patent law.
To embrace the development and power of AI, Congress should grant patents, subject to a compulsory license, to AI-created inventions. Though the AI systems themselves do not need the same incentive that a human or corporation does to engage in the inventorship process, the prospect of patent protection can encourage the use of AI in the first place. AI is already a valuable tool in the innovative process, and its power may only grow with increased sophistication. Because US patent law seeks to incentivize innovation, its goals are best served by embracing AI inventorship.