When AI Assists Invention – What Can You Patent?


Artificial intelligence (AI) is affecting all facets of modern life. Just like your business, the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) also grapples with the boundaries of intellectual property (IP) protection and using AI.  An important question is what happens when AI is part of the inventive process.

To help answer that question, the USPTO issued the Inventorship Guidance for AI-Assisted Inventions, addressing patentability of inventions created with the assistance of AI. That guidance went into effect on February 13, 2024, and we summarize it below.

Patentability and Human Contributions

Contrary to the misconception that AI-assisted inventions are categorically unpatentable, the USPTO guidance emphasizes human contribution as the primary focus in the inventorship analysis. While AI can play a role, U.S. Patents must ultimately reward and incentivize human ingenuity.

The USPTO recognizes that AI can assist inventors, but the office underscores the importance of “significant” human involvement. Patent protection may be sought if a “natural person” provides a significant contribution to the invention. Significant contributions, for example, may include developing a detailed string of prompts to elicit a particular solution, conducting experiments to alter or improve the AI’s suggestion, and/or building and training the overall AI model.

The USPTO will be hosting a webinar on Inventorship Guidance for AI-Assisted Inventions. During this event, viewers can learn more about the guidance and seek answers to their questions. WRVB IP attorneys will provide a summary of the webinar after its conclusion.

As attorneys with legal experience relating to the interface of IP and AI, our Intellectual Property attorneys can help you protect your AI-assisted inventions, file patents on inventions in the AI field, and manage and navigate any concerns relating to the proliferation of AI. If you have questions about AI or protecting your IP, contact a member of our Intellectual Property team.


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