The United States Patent and Trademark Office published guidance in the Federal Register today that is effective as of February 13, 2024. The guidance makes clear that AI inventions are not per se unpatentable. The guidance instructs examiners and stakeholders on how to determine whether a human contribution is significant enough to qualify for a patent if AI has also contributed to the invention. The guidance builds on existing inventorship framework and states patent protection may be sought for inventions in which a human provided a significant contribution to the invention. See also AI-related resources | USPTO.
The guidance explains that the patent statute does not provide a basis for patenting inventions made by a tool like AI, but also do not preclude patenting inventions made by a human with the assistance of AI. The statute only requires naming natural person inventors and does not preclude a joint AI inventor. The guidance is applicable to utility patents, design patents, and plant patents.