USPTO: Humans Still Essential for AI-Assisted Patent Protections

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued guidance stating that only natural humans, not AI systems, can be named as inventors and awarded patents. This establishes that legal personhood and rights like intellectual property protections are still limited to humans.


  • The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued new guidance on awarding patents for AI-assisted inventions.
  • The guidance establishes that under current law, only natural persons (humans) can be named as inventors and awarded patent protections.
  • AI systems themselves cannot be considered "individuals" or legal persons that can hold intellectual property rights like patents.
  • The policy aims to incentivize and reward human ingenuity as intended by the patent system.
  • Humans using AI tools may still obtain patents if they make significant contributions to the conception of the invention.
  • Merely providing input data or parameters to an AI system is likely insufficient to qualify as a patent inventor.
  • Additional criteria outline assessing significant human contributions warranting inventor status.
  • The policy does not limit or define AI technology itself, only its eligibility for legal patent protections.
  • If laws change to designate AIs as persons for IP purposes, the Patent Office would revise guidance accordingly.
  • But for now, AI lacks legal personhood, so only humans will be awarded patents moving forward.


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