Allens acts in landmark AI-inventorship case set for the High Court of Australia

Patents & Trade Marks Technology & Outsourcing

The High Court of Australia will hear oral arguments in Dr Stephen Thaler's application for special leave to appeal from a decision of the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia that an artificial intelligence (AI) system cannot be named as an inventor of a patent.

In a world first, Allens, representing Dr Thaler, initially succeeded before the Federal Court in challenging a decision of the Commissioner of Patents that only humans can be named as inventors. The Commissioner of Patents had rejected a patent application filed by Dr Thaler, which named the AI system DABUS (Device for Autonomous Bootstrapping of Unified Sentience) as the inventor. That decision was then overturned on appeal by the Full Court.

Dr Thaler has applied for special leave to appeal the Full Court's decision to the High Court. The High Court has indicated that the oral hearing will be listed in November 2022.

As AI is increasingly contributing to research and development efforts, whether patent protection is given for AI-generated inventions will have significant ramifications for stakeholders across a wide range of industries, such as the pharmaceutical industry where machine learning is becoming an important tool utilised to achieve effective, cheaper and quicker drug discovery.

The DABUS application was filed as part of the Artificial Inventor Project, spearheaded by Dr Ryan Abbott of The University of Surrey, which has been advocating across the globe for AI to be capable of being named as an inventor.

Allens was recently named Australian Patent Law Firm of the Year at the IAM and WTR Global IP Awards 2022.

Allens team

Intellectual Property

Richard Hamer (Senior IP Counsel), Lauren John (Managing Associate)

Notes for editors.

Allens is a commercial law firm working throughout Australia and Asia. Through its integrated alliance with Linklaters it provides clients access to 40 offices in 28 countries around the world.