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Survey: 80% concerned about AI being recognized as an inventor on patents; Respondents fear an increase in unverified inventions


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Figurines depicting computers and smartphones are seen before the words ‘Artificial Intelligence AI’ in this illustration taken on February 19, 2024.

Recognizing AI as an inventor on patents could be problematic, according to more than 80% of companies and organizations recently surveyed by an expert committee at the Japan Patent Office.

Respondents’ concerns included the possibility of more inventions where the feasibility of the product or technology involved had not been verified. The results of the study will be published shortly.

With the rapid evolution of generative AI, it is expected that there will be more patent applications for inventions that use AI.

The expert committee conducted the survey last October and received responses from 41 entities from 125 companies and research institutions with experience in AI technology or patent applications. The research included data based on public information and interviews.

According to the poll, the use of AI is expanding in several areas, such as developing new medicines and raw materials, suggesting beverage recipes and architectural design plans. The study found that 34% of companies and research institutions that filed patent applications for inventions used AI in the creative process.

For example, AI can predict combinations of materials and development methods that meet required characteristics based on vast amounts of data, potentially increasing the speed and efficiency of development without the need for repeated experimentation.

However, many respondents, especially businesses, said the level of AI technology is currently “insufficient” and that human verification was necessary.

As for whether patent rights should be recognized for inventions created autonomously by AI, 80% of respondents said this could pose problems. Concerns were also expressed about an increase in the number of inventions that had not been verified as capable of leading to actual products, as well as excessive patent filings causing delays in the review process.

In response to the research results, the expert committee concluded that there was no need to change the policy regarding patent examination at this time. However, it noted that “AI-related technologies are likely to develop rapidly. Therefore, appropriate safeguards will be considered necessary.”

The patent office plans to promote research into the risks associated with patenting inventions based on the research results.

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