DABUS: decoding Australia’s AI decision


Richard Hamer, Lauren John and Alexandra Moloney

DABUS: decoding Australia’s AI decision

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Allowing an AI as an inventor could benefit the country’s pharma and drug discovery industries, say Richard Hamer, Lauren John and Alexandra Moloney of Allens.

In a world first judicial decision, Justice Beach of the Federal Court of Australia determined that an AI machine can be named as an inventor on a patent application. The decision, Thaler v Commissioner of Patents, is the first judicial determination in the world permitting a non-person to be named as an inventor. A non-human inventor can still not be an applicant or grantee of a patent—only a natural person or corporation can apply for or be granted a patent.

The availability of patent protection for AI-generated inventions has proven to be a hotly contested and contentious issue around the world. The Australian decision is timely as AI capabilities continue to evolve and impact our everyday lives, raising important legal and philosophical questions. Should inventions created by AI be patentable? Who should be nominated as the inventor of such inventions? Who should own any resulting patents? Given the importance of AI to research and development, the decision will have a significant impact across a range of industries and sectors.


Allens, AI, big pharma, drug discovery, Federal Court of Australia, patent application, inventions, R&D, Dabus