EPO explains decision to refuse patent applications naming a machine as inventor

A machine called “DABUS”, described as “a type of connectionist artificial intelligence”, was named as the inventor in two applications filed in autumn 2018. 

The EPO has published its decision setting out the reasons for its recent refusal of two European patent applications in which an AI system was designated as the inventor.

Filed by an individual in autumn 2018, the applications EP 18 275 163 and EP 18 275 174 were refused by the EPO following oral proceedings with the applicant in November 2019, on the grounds that they do not meet the legal requirement of the European Patent Convention (EPC) that an inventor designated in the application has to be a human being, and not a machine.

In its decisions, the EPO considered that the interpretation of the legal framework of the European patent system leads to the conclusion that the inventor designated in a European patent must be a natural person. 

The decisions to refuse the two patent applications can be appealed by the applicant within two months at the EPO’s independent judiciary, the Boards of Appeal.

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