Our CTO Dr. Guan Wang gave a speech at Stanford University for a USPTO event on AI inventorship. The esteemed committee consisted of Stanford professors of law and public policy, law firm partners, and leaders in the AI industry.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) plays an important role in incentivizing and protecting innovation, including innovation enabled by artificial intelligence (AI), to ensure continued U.S. leadership in AI and other emerging technologies (ET). seek stakeholder input on the current state of AI technologies and inventorship issues that may result from their advancement.
The discussion centered around a few fundamental questions of inventorship in the era of artificial general intelligence (AGI). Some of the questions included:
- How is AI used in the invention creation process?
- How does the use of an AI system in the invention creation process differ from the use of other technical tools?
- If an AI system contributes to an invention at the same level as a human who would be considered a joint inventor?
- What statutory changes, if any, should be considered as to U.S. inventorship law, and what consequences do you foresee for those statutory changes?
Given the experience of this committee and the depth of the discussion, this event is easily one of the most influential and defining moments for the future of inventorship in the AI era.
The key takeaways from some speakers are listed as the following.
The following list is sampled from all speakers. To see the list of all speakers or other event details, please refer to USPTO’s website here. The points listed below are our takeaways at the event. They are not direct quotes from the speakers. We hope we captured their meanings as accurate as we could.
1. Prof. Daniel Ho, Stanford Law School
- AI should be inspired by human.
- All inventors should be benefit from AI
- We’re witnessing the sparks of general intelligence.
- A bunch of questions raised about AI inventorship. But no one knows the answer yet.
2. Prof. Mark Lemley, Stanford Law School
- If the patent law doesn’t change, new inventions will have problems being protected in the AI era.
- It’s hard to pinpoint the contributions, especially if the humans choose to not disclose it in the patent applications.
- USPTO should ask inventors to include their reference of the use of AI.
3. Prof. Lisa Ouellette, Stanford Law School
- The economic impact of AI is way too big.
- The change US patent law may or may not impact other countries to change their laws. However, the impact of that (either way) is going to be huge.
- The existing patent law may cause some research proposals being protected while the actual research work not protected. And that’s going to be a bigger issue when AI can draft proposals much faster without actually implementing it.
4. Laura Sheridan, Head of Google Patent Policy
- We may need a way to quantify the significance of human prompt in the co-inventing process between human and AI.
5. Aprita Bhattacharyya, Partner at Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garret & Dunner, LLP
- AI does not have consciousness. It does not purposely invent something based on its free will. Therefore, it shouldn’t be granted inventorship.
- It is hard for the existing patent legal system to protect an invention without human involvement.
6. Guan Wang, Cofounder and CTO at Huski.ai
- Induction and deduction are the two fundamental problem-solving mechanisms humans have. Now AI can do both at very high level. The protein 3D structure prediction is an example of deduction, and the matrix multiplication algorithm discovery is an example of induction.
- AI is fundamentally different from previous tools such as search engine or big data analytics tools, because its reasoning depth, ability to customize solutions, and the fact that GPTs are general purpose technologies.
- If we grant AI the inventorship, that may cause consequences that we don’t foresee. Human inventions may be sidelined.
- In the future, every patent application should require the inventors to fill-in their prompts and AI responses.
- AI singularity is coming fast.
In conclusion, the USPTO event on AI inventorship at Stanford University was a significant moment for the future of inventorship in the AI era. The speakers highlighted the economic impact of AI, the difficulties of quantifying human contributions in co-inventing with AI, and the need for inventors to reference the use of AI in their patent applications. Overall, the event demonstrated the importance of continued dialogue and collaboration between stakeholders to ensure that U.S. leadership in AI and other emerging technologies is maintained while protecting innovation and inventorship.