The USPTO is seeking information on artificial intelligence (AI) inventions. This topic generally includes both (a) inventions developed by AI (wholly or partially) and (b) inventions of AI. Although the focus here is AI invention, the relevant underlying thread is corporate invention.
- What are elements of an AI invention? For example: If a person conceives of a training program for an AI, has that person invented the trained AI? If a person instructs an AI to solve a particular problem; has that person invented the solution (once it is solved by the AI)?
- What are the different ways that a natural person can contribute to conception of an AI invention and be eligible to be a named inventor? For example: Designing the algorithm and/or weighting adaptations; structuring the data on which the algorithm runs; running the AI algorithm on the data and obtaining the results.
- Do current patent laws and regulations regarding inventorship need to be revised to take into account inventions where an entity or entities other than a natural person contributed to the conception of an invention?
- Should an entity or entities other than a natural person, or company to which a natural person assigns an invention, be able to own a patent on the AI invention?
- Are there any patent eligibility considerations unique to AI inventions?
- Are there any disclosure-related considerations unique to AI inventions? For example, under current practice, written description support for computer-implemented inventions generally require sufficient disclosure of an algorithm to perform a claimed function, such that a person of ordinary skill in the art can reasonably conclude that the inventor had possession of the claimed invention. Does there need to be a change in the level of detail an applicant must provide in order to comply with the written description requirement, particularly for deep-learning systems that may have a large number of hidden layers with weights that evolve during the learning/training process without human intervention or knowledge?
- How can patent applications for AI inventions best comply with the enablement requirement, particularly given the degree of unpredictability of certain AI systems?
- Does AI impact the level of a person of ordinary skill in the art? If so, how? For example: Should assessment of the level of ordinary skill in the art reflect the capability possessed by AI?
- Are there any prior art considerations unique to AI inventions?
- Are there any new forms of intellectual property protections that are needed for AI inventions, such as data protection?
- Are there any other issues pertinent to patenting AI inventions that we should examine?
- Are there any relevant policies or practices from other major patent agencies that may help inform USPTO’s policies and practices regarding patenting of AI inventions?
Send your comments to the USPTO (AIPartnership@uspto.gov) by October 11, 2019.