A machine cannot be an inventor according to EPC

Recently both European patent applications, EP3564144 for a “Food container” and EP3563896 for a “DEVICES AND METHODS FOR ATTRACTING ENHANCED ATTENTION”, have been refused by the European Patent Office (EPO) because of lack of the legal requirement of the European Patent Convention (EPC). In both applications a machine called “DABUS” were mentioned as the inventor.

However, the EPO considers that according to the legal framework of the European patent system the inventor designated in a European patent must be a natural person, a human being, and not a machine (Article 81 and Rule 19 EPC).

The designation of an inventor in a Patent is mandatory because it produces a series of legal effects. Among others, it ensures that the designated inventor is the legitimate one, entitled to benefit from the rights conferred by said status.

Obviously, in order to exercise those rights, the inventor needs a legal personality that machines and artificial intelligence still do not have.

Further details on EPO decision