Generative artificial intelligence (AI) has been around for over 60 years ever since Joseph Weizenbaum created the ELIZA chatbot in 1961. Since the turn of the 21st century, generative AI has advanced exponentially with AI becoming increasingly more independent and useful in everyday applications. As such, inventions utilizing generative AI have also increased exponentially raising the question of who exactly the inventor is if AI has contributed to an invention. Indeed, can an innovation that is novel, nonobvious and useful be patented when all or part of the conception of the invention is generated by artificial intelligence?
AI has been used in a number of ways to contribute to the development of an invention and such AI inventions can be categorized as follows: inventions that embody an advance in the field of AI itself; inventions that apply AI; and inventions produced by AI itself. See, USPTO AI Report, Oct. 7, 2020. This article will focus on the last category—inventions produced by AI.