FAQ of the week: Are Artificial Intelligence inventions patentable?

AI intelligence

Question: Are Artificial Intelligence inventions patentable?

Answer:

Yes, but it’s difficult to do so. Claiming AI inventions runs into serious problems, especially with respect to level of abstraction.  At the low end of abstraction, one is very unlikely to secure claims by focusing on formulas or calculations.  There is a long-standing rule that algorithms per se cannot be patented.  At the high end of abstraction, one is unlikely to secure claims by treating AI as black box, i.e., merely reciting that one feeds a set of data into an AI machine, and then the AI figures out what to do.  That is just as obvious these days as it is to attach odd types of files to an email message, and let the email client figure out how to send them.  The email client is being treated as a black box.

What is still likely to be patentable is to: (1) recite subject matter that is inventive regardless of whether or not AI is involved; (2) recite an invention in the AI itself, for example, how to efficiently model a neural network without using thousands of processing cores; or (3) recite physical structure (e.g., circuitry) that embodies AI processes.

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