Posts in Inventors Information

A Creeper: Absorbing Generative AI into the Inventive Process

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) recent Request for Comments (RFC) on the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) highlights a critical juncture in intellectual property law—evaluating the impact of generative AI (GenAI) on the non-obviousness standard. As GenAI technologies integrate deeply with human intellect, possibly even enhancing cognitive capacities, we must reassess what constitutes “progress” and the constitutional value that intellectual property law was envisioned to advance.

Making Licensing Harder Doesn’t Boost U.S. Manufacturing

While it’s appropriate to lament the lack of bipartisan cooperation in Washington, just because something’s bipartisan doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Exhibit A could be Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Senator J.D. Vance’s (R-OH) “Invent It Here, Make It Here” bill. Despite the name and its good intentions, it condemns promising federally funded inventions to waste away without doing a thing to build our domestic manufacturing base. It’s scheduled to be considered this Thursday in the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

Shifting Strategies: Building a Strong Patent Portfolio in an Erratic U.S. Patent System

Finding an appropriate patent strategy is simple. Start with a well-funded and dedicated research and development team who sees their job as not only inventing but also working side-by-side with patent attorneys to protect the intangible assets they create for the betterment and advancement of the company. Instruct the patent attorneys representing the company to spend the time necessary to describe and claim the invention to meet the standards of today and the moving target that is the unknowable standards of tomorrow. Pay millions and millions of dollars in patent office fees in the United States and around the world. Then, sit back and watch success roll in like waves washing over the sand at high tide.

USPTO Proposes National Strategy to Incentivize Inclusive Innovation

The United States Patent and Trademark (USPTO) today announced a “National Strategy for Inclusive Innovation” in advance of a World IP Day event being held on Capitol Hill.  The Strategy was developed with support from the Council for Inclusive Innovation (CI2) and, according to a USPTO press release, “aims to lift communities, grow the economy, create quality jobs, and address global challenges by increasing participation in STEM, inventorship and innovation among youth and those from historically underrepresented and underresourced communities.”

Commerce Department Announces NIST and USPTO Actions on AI

President Biden issued an executive order (EO) on artificial intelligence on October 30, 2023,  announcing a series of agency directives for managing risks related to the use of AI technologies. Now, the Department of Commerce (DOC) has announced several new actions aimed at implementing that order. On Monday, April 29, the DOC said the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released four draft publications on improving safety and security of AI technologies and also launched a program that will help to distinguish between content produced by humans and content produced by AI. Additionally, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today published a request for comment (RFC) on “how AI could affect evaluations of how the level of ordinary skills in the arts are made to determine if an invention is patentable under U.S. law.”

Young Sheldon’s Inventorship Woes: Important Lessons for All Young Inventors

As the hit sitcom Young Sheldon comes to an end next month, a look back at the series offers an opportunity for young inventors to learn about inventorship. The coming-of-age show centers around a boy genius, Sheldon, who has run the gamut of growing up in expedited fashion—experiencing high school, college dorm life, and even a first (failed) kiss (attempt), all before being eligible to drive. Another milestone in Sheldon’s life—his first inventorship dispute—shows that it doesn’t take a boy genius to become a young inventor.

USPTO AI Guidance Highlights Risks for Practitioners and Public

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced guidance for practitioners and the public regarding the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the preparation of filings for submission to the Office. The guidance comes two months after the Office issued a guidance memorandum for the Trademark and Patent Trial and Appeal Boards (TTAB and PTAB) on the misuse of AI tools before the Boards that clarified the application of existing rules to AI submissions.

Report: Recent IP Summit Explores the Relationship Between AI Benefits, IP Rights

The remarkable story that inventor Alan Nelson shared last week at the 7th Annual Intellectual Property Awareness Summit held by CIPU at Northwestern University was revealing in many ways. Dr. Nelson related how he overcame numerous obstacles to commercialize a landmark technology for detecting cervical cancer in the 1990s. Using artificial intelligence (AI) while at the University of Washington, Dr. Nelson automated and vastly improved how early and accurately cervical cancer is identified — he and his team invented a machine to read Pap smears. 

CAFC Affirms District Court’s Inventorship Analysis

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) on Friday affirmed a district court finding that two inventors should be added as co-inventors to a patent for a method of transporting gaseous fluids. The CAFC concluded that the record “does not leave us with a definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been made” in finding the inventors contributed significantly to the invention.

Brazilian Lawmaker Introduces Bill to Allow AI as Inventor

On February 20, 2024, a Brazilian congress member, Antônio Luiz Rodrigues Mano Júnior (known as Júnior Mano), introduced a bill to amend the national IP Statute (Law #9,279/96) and regulate the ownership of inventions generated by artificial intelligence systems. Bill #303/2024 proposes the addition of a paragraph to Article 6 of the IP Statute, which regulates ownership of inventions, with the following wording: “in the case of inventions autonomously generated by artificial intelligence system, the patent can be requested in the name of the artificial intelligence system that has created the invention, being the artificial intelligence system considered the inventor and owner of rights arising from the invention.”

Top-Down and Bottom-Up Approaches in Writing a Patent Application

Writing a useful and enforceable patent application is not an easy task. A number of articles show how to draft a patent application. For example, Gene Quinn of IPWatchdog published a series of articles with tips to avoid mistakes or pitfalls. Automated software and AI-assisted drafting tools have also become available, but there have been ethical and practical concerns about relying on AI. Instead of discussing the specific details of the steps in writing a patent application or the pros and cons of automated or AI tools, I will focus on the overall strategies or approaches.

Patent Landscape for Quantum Computing: A Survey of Patenting Activities for Different Physical Realization Methods

The year 2023 marked another year of rapid advancements in quantum computing technology, showcasing significant progress in key areas such as scalable quantum computing and quantum error correction. Multiple physical realization approaches or modalities for creating quantum bits (qubits) are under development, offering different tradeoffs in performance metrics such as qubit count, error rate, decoherence time, and gate speed. Patenting activities are effective indicators of innovation speed and resource distribution in a technology field. As 2024 begins, this post explores the newest development focus and trends in the quantum computing industry through the angle of its patent landscape and discusses strategic considerations for patenting in this rapidly evolving field.

USPTO AI Guidance Reiterates DABUS Decision

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today released guidance for determining inventorship of artificial intelligence (AI)-assisted inventions. As the Office has previously stated, the guidance clarifies that “while AI-assisted inventions are not categorically unpatentable, the inventorship analysis should focus on human contributions, as patents function to incentivize and reward human ingenuity.” The USPTO issued a call for comments on AI inventorship in February 2023. That Federal Register Notice (FRN) asked the public to respond to 11 questions, including “how does the use of an AI system [in the invention process]…differ from the use of other technical tools”; whether AI inventions may be patentable under current patent laws on joint inventorship by, for example, simply listing the natural person involved in inventions created by AI machines; and whether statutory or regulatory changes should be made to better address AI contributions to inventions.

Strategies for Using the Hague System

The number of design applications filed through the Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs continues to grow, with an 18.8% increase in annual filings reported in 2022. The Hague system, which covers 96 countries, offers numerous advantages for applicants and presents some interesting strategic options for filing in the United States as well.

The UK Supreme Court DABUS Decision: The End or Just a Bump in the Road for AI Inventors?

As reported on IPWatchdog, the UK Supreme court recently ruled that a trained neural network (an Artificial Intelligence known as DABUS) could not be listed as the inventor on two patent applications filed by Dr. Stephen Thaler at the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO). As a result, the two applications were treated as withdrawn for failing to comply with the requirements of the UK Patents Act 1977. This not a surprising decision for reasons that will be set out below, and it is consistent both with the earlier UK court decisions, and with the decisions of other jurisdictions around the world where Dr. Thaler has argued his case. The decision has, however, sparked interest in the questions of artificial intelligence and its ability both to “autonomously” devise inventions and to subsequently own them.