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The Rapid Rise of Generative AI Threatens to Upend US Patent System ($) – “As issues about artificial intelligence make their way through the US patent system, greater disclosure about its use may lead to questions about how ideas are formed that are not considered under existing patent rules, warns Dr. Michael Sartori…When members of the US supreme court refused this week to hear a groundbreaking case that sought to have an artificial intelligence system named as the inventor on a patent, it appeared to lay to rest a controversial idea that could have transformed the intellectual property field. The justices’ decision, in the case of Thaler vs Vidal, leaves in place two lower court rulings that only “natural persons” can be awarded patents. The decision dealt a blow to claims that intelligent machines are already matching human creativity in important areas of the economy and deserve similar protections for their ideas. But while the court’s decision blocked a potentially radical extension of patent rights, it has done nothing to calm growing worries that AI is threatening to upend other aspects of intellectual property law. The US Patent and Trademark Office opened hearings on the issue this week, drawing warnings that AI-fuelled inventions might stretch existing understandings of how the patent system works and lead to a barrage of litigation. The flurry of concern has been prompted by the rapid rise of generative AI. Though known mainly from OpenAI’s ChatGPT, the same technology is already being used to design semiconductors and suggest ideas for new molecules that might form the basis of useful drugs. For now, such uses of AI do not appear to pose a serious challenge to the patent system since the technology is being used as a tool to help humans shape ideas rather than operating independently, said Chris Morgan, an IP partner at law firm Reed Smith. However, referring to the possibility that AI systems might one day come up with inventions on their own, she added: “Our laws are not equipped, the way they’re written right now, to handle that scenario.”

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