The Legal Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office has announced its decision to dismiss the appeal against the refusal of two European patent applications in which the DABUS artificial intelligence system was designated as the inventor; the board’s decision confirms that the European Patent Convention requires the inventor designated in a European patent application to be a human.
On 21 December 2021 the Legal Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office (EPO) announced in a communique its decision to dismiss the appeal in cases J 8/20 and J 9/20, concerning the office’s refusal of two patent applications in which the artificial intelligence system known as DABUS was designated as the inventor.
The full text of the decision of the Legal Board of Appeal has not yet been published.
The EPO’s Receiving Section had refused both applications on the ground that only a human being can be considered an inventor under the European Patent Convention (EPC).
The applicant appealed against the refusal, and filed an auxiliary request stating that while no person had been identified as the inventor in the applications, a natural person was indicated as holding “the right to the European Patent by virtue of being the owner and the creator of the artificial intelligence system”.
The decision of the EPO Legal Board of Appeal confirms that under the EPC the inventor must be a person with legal capacity, and that any statement indicating the origin of the right to the European patent must be in conformity with such a requirement.
The two refused applications are part of an international campaign of patent applications and appeals, conducted by the US company Imagination Engines’ CEO Steven Thaler, in which the inventor designated in the applications is an artificial intelligence system named DABUS, invented by Mr. Thaler himself.
Assisted by an international team of attorneys, Mr. Thaler aims to prove that laws defining the inventor for the purpose of granting a patent do not, as things stand, take into account the increasingly important role played by artificial intelligence in developing innovative solutions (more in Related content below).