A patent application for “a food container based on fractal geometry” was accepted by South Africa Patent Office on June 24.
The interesting aspect of this ordinary news is that the inventor of the mentioned patent application is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system called as “DABUS”.
The name “DABUS” stands for “device for the autonomous bootstrapping of unified sentience” and this AI system has been created by Dr. Stephen Thaler.
By accepting the patent application, South Africa became the first country to register an invention created – not by a legal or natural person– but by an AI system. Now DABUS is the “first AI” which is designated and published as the inventor in a patent file.
Although the patent application in South Africa has been successfully concluded, other filings of the same patent in the EU, UK, AU and US has not been successful yet (pending appeals). For example, the European Patent Office (EPO) rejected the application. According to the decision, “an inventor on a patent application must have “legal capacity.” The proceedings are still ongoing and oral hearings are scheduled for December 21, 2021.
It is worth mentioning that Dr. Stephen Thaler and his team of patent attorneys filed patent applications in many other countries. The countries in which the files are still pending: Brazil, Canada, China, India, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan and Switzerland.
Also, these patent applications triggered arguments whether AI can be accepted as the inventor of a patent or not. Some experts state that the patent laws in many jurisdictions are very clear about the definition of the inventor’s “legal capacity”. However, some other experts argue that the status quo about the legal capacity of the inventor should be changed so that AI can be recognized as the inventor of a patent.
It seems clearly that the technology is changing and improving more rapidly than the existing patent laws. We hope to see the results of this change in near future.