Fariba Sirjani is a primary patent examiner at the United States Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, VA. She holds M.S. degrees in Agricultural Engineering and Electrical Engineering from the University of California at Davis and a J.D. from Arizona State University. Prior to joining the USPTO, she worked as a patent attorney drafting and prosecuting patent applications in various areas of electrical and mechanical arts and before obtaining a law degree she conducted mathematical modeling of groundwater flow and contaminant transport as well as air dispersion modeling for engineering consulting firms.
Whether or not the law recognizes a machine as the inventor-at-law, the facts are indispensable to determination of the true inventor-in-fact. In the case of Stephen Thaler’s attempt to obtain patent protection for a food container and light stick he says were independently invented by his AI machine, DABUS, the inventor-in-fact will be either Thaler or his machine. The procedural posture of Thaler v. Vidal caused the discourse to jump over the facts of how the food container and the light stick were invented by DABUS. These overlooked facts may reveal the true inventor, regardless of whether or not the type of inventor is recognized by the current law.
“Mathematical Formulas and Relationships” fall under the “Abstract Idea” exception to the categories of patentable subject matter. Characterizing the “Mathematical Formulas and Relationships” as “Abstract Ideas” has led to misrepresentation of mathematical concepts in patent law. A “Mathematical Formula or Relationship” is a means of expression and should be inspected to extract what it expresses. Next, the content that is being expressed may be evaluated to determine whether the “Mathematical Formula or Relationship” is expressing a “Tool” or a “Model,” both of which are used for building machines and devising technological processes and neither of which needs to be categorically excepted from patentability.