High Court to hear watershed case recognising AI as patent inventors

The case is expected to impact the pharmaceutical industry, where machine learning is increasingly important

High Court to hear watershed case recognising AI as patent inventors
Richard Hamer, Lauren Jones

The High Court is set to hear a watershed case on whether an AI system can be recognised as a patent inventor – a case in which Allens will play a key role.

The firm will continue to represent Dr Stephen Thaler, who developed the Device for Autonomous Bootstrapping of Unified Sentience (DABUS) system. Last year, Allens helped Thaler make international history when for the first time, a Federal Court judge acknowledged that the system could be named as the inventor of an improved beverage container and a “neural flame” for use in search-and-rescue operations.

However, on appeal by the Commissioner of Patents, the Full Court rejected the decision, and Thaler brought an appeal to the High Court. The High Court confirmed that it will hear oral arguments in November.

The outcome of the appeal is expected to impact several industries, notably the pharmaceutical industry where machine learning is “becoming an important tool utilised to achieve effective, cheaper and quicker drug discovery,” Allens explained. Thus, the granting of patent protection to AI inventions will affect many stakeholders.

Senior IP counsel Richard Hamer and managing associate Lauren John from the firm’s IP team are working on this landmark transaction.

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