South Africa issues the world’s first patent with an artificial intelligence named as the inventor.
DABUS (Device for the Autonomous Bootstrapping of Unified Sentience) is a “Creative AI” developed by Stephen Thaler. DABUS’ patent was accepted last June 26 but was formally published in their July 2021 Patent Journal. Another historic first for DABUS is the reinstatement of their patent application in Australia as the federal court’s decision on July 30 favored AI systems being named as inventors of a patent.
The patent describes a food or beverage container that is flexible and capable of attracting enhanced attention. According to the description, their proposed container has a fractal profile forming pits and bulges that can be used to tie multiple containers together without using external components and they can be easily detached from each other. Another main advantage of their container is that the pits and bulges assist in heat transfer into and out of the container when the contents are heated or cooled. Moreover, DABUS proposed that the container can have its own LED light source having a lacunar pulse train to generate a “neural flame” that acts as a beacon for human attention.
Fig. 1 The fractal profile in the proposed container in “attachment” mode.
Fig. 2 The fractal profile in the proposed container in “detachment” mode
According to The Artificial Inventor Project’s website, DABUS creates patents using an extensive artificial neural system that conceives inventions through its own cumulative learned experience and finding that “Eureka moment” in its thoughts. They also call DABUS “sentient” as it can launch a series of memories that can “sometimes terminate in critical recollections”.
Before the acceptance from the South Africa Patent Office, this patent from DABUS encountered multiple rejections from USPTO, EPO, UKIPO and Australia’s Patent Office. According to the USPTO, this patent was rejected for its failure to “identify each inventor by his or her legal name” on the Application Data Sheet. They further state that based on Title 35 of the United States Code, inventors must be “natural persons”. The other patent giving bodies also rejected the patent application for the same technicality. The hurdles for DABUS aren’t over yet as South Africa’s Patent Office doesn’t formally examine applications and it can still be open to objections on novelty and inventiveness. Currently, DABUS’ legal team is appealing the rejection from UKIPO and has parallel pending proceedings in US, Germany and EPO.
The featured patent application, “Food container and devices and methods for attracting enhanced attention”, was filed with the South Africa Patent Office on May 13, 2021 and published thereafter on July 28, 2021. The listed applicant is Stephen Thaler. The listed inventor is DABUS.