Algorithm owns a patent!

Invented By AI

An algorithm received a patent for its invention.

What’s new: South Africa’s intellectual property office issued a patent that names an AI system as the inventor of a food container with unique properties, IP Watchdog reported.

Why it matters: This patent could set a significant precedent in the ongoing debate about whether and to what extent an algorithm can be considered the creator of new music, images, and other intellectual properties — a debate with potentially significant financial and legal implications.

We’re thinking: The patent system has been criticized for enabling patent trolls who file or acquire patents for the purpose of litigating rather than advancing a technology or putting a new invention to work. If AI systems can file patents at scale, the whole system might need rethinking to incentivize useful innovation.

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