“Whatever you think of the ideas on their own, that’s not really the point,” (Abbot) said. “What’s striking is that the machine invented in two very different areas, neither of which its programmer had any background in.”

Patent law could be upended by a filing at the World Intellectual Property Office in Geneva, reports The Financial Times.

An application seeks patent protection for two inventions listing an AI model as the inventor.

US, UK, and European patent laws classify inventors as humans. UK and EU laws define them as ‘natural persons,’ and US law refers to ‘individuals.’

One of the inventions is a container that can change shape. The other is an alert light for emergencies.


  • This is a story to watch for more than if the patents are granted or denied. The question goes to the concept of personhood for AI models.
  • In turn, there are implications for the economics of journalism. The results could influence future interpretations of ownership or accountability for works involving algorithms. Examples are copyright, defamation, moral rights, right of publicity, and others.
  • A definitive result could become a precedent for future cases, or if not, at least could become a point of comparison in legal arguments involving intellectual property.


Patent agencies challenged to accept AI inventor
FINANCIAL TIMES | July 31, 2019 | by Martin Coulter