Computer-Generated Inventions

Computer-Generated Inventions

Michael McLaughlin

Technological advancements in artificial intelligence have threatened the axiom that conception, the mental part of invention, is a function exclusive to the human mind. Recently, machine learning technologies have allowed artificially intelligent computers to compose patent claims that amount to patentable subject matter. This technology is similarly used by innovators to optimize design configurations beyond the scope of human capacity. The type of patent protection to be afforded to computer-assisted and computer-generated inventions with minimal to no human intervention has yet to be determined. This article illuminates how such technological advances could wreak havoc on the patent legal system as it currently stands. It then offers a proposal for a legal standard that is supported by the philosophical justifications for property rights. The structure of this proposal is derived from the human creativity framework used to analyze the copyrightability of computer-generated works –– paralleling the creativity standard to an intervention standard in the inventive process. Finally, this article provides a potential legislative and judicial framework for determining the amount of human intervention required to ensure protection against computer-assisted or computer-generated inventions. 

101 J. Pat. & Trademark Off. Soc’y 224 (2019)

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