According to the German Federal Patent Court (BPatG), inventions that have been generated by a computer system, more particularly by an artificial intelligence (AI), are not excluded from patent protection in Germany. However, the computer system may still not take all the credit – at least one natural person must be listed as the inventor. What remains for the computer system is the option to be named as a "co-inventor", as the BPatG does not consider a supplementary remark specifying the computer system as being involved in the invention as a sufficient ground to refuse a patent application or to revoke a patent.
We look forward to the publication of the detailed reasons for decision and will report again.
In a preceding decision of the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA), the German Patent application DE 10 2019 128 120 has been refused based on the fact that the AI system "DABUS" (living in St. Charles / Missouri, US) was named as inventor in the designation of invention, as it did not represent a natural person.
To the joy of (Co-)Inventor DABUS, the patent application may now be examined with respect to the patentability of the actual invention, which relates to an (analogue) food or beverage container.
Does this raise any questions regarding the patentability of software inventions and the rights of their inventors? Feel free to reach out to our experts that would be happy to advise you on all aspects of protecting computer-implemented inventions.
Originally published 18 November 2021
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