The news arrived via “guidance,” which is to say official policy but not ironclad rule, set to be entered into the federal register soon. The guidance document (PDF) specifies that for clear legal reasons, as well as the notion that, fundamentally, “patents function to incentivize and reward human ingenuity,” only “natural humans” can be awarded patents. Not being citizens, they cannot vote, but being legal persons, their speech is protected by the first amendment. For instance, if a person designed an AI model, and that AI model independently designed the shape and mechanism of a patentable device, is that AI a “joint inventor” or “coinventor”?
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