IT Brief New Zealand logo
Technology news for New Zealand's largest enterprises
Story image

Legal challenge over decision that AI machines cannot be granted patents

A legal challenge is being prepared to overturn the Intellectual Property Office's (IPONZ) decision not to recognise a machine as an inventor.

It is being led by University of Surrey law professor Ryan Abbott, who has been testing patent law around the world, including New Zealand, to see if an invention created by an artificial intelligence (AI) programme could receive a patent.

The test case centres around a "creativity machine" or AI inventor programme, known as DABUS, which was developed by US-based physicist Stephen Thaler.

Abbott approached Thaler about using the AI as the basis of the case and with a team of lawyers, all working pro bono, they filed patent applications in more than a dozen countries listing DABUS as the inventor of a beverage container it created.

New Zealand's Assistant Commissioner of Patents rejected the initial application in January, ruling that the term "inventor" intrinsically refers to a natural person.

Abbott confirmed to RNZ he was planning to appeal but he said this would depend on IPONZ waiving the requirement for its legal costs to be covered if the appeal failed.

"This really has to do with the evolution of technology and the fact that AI is getting better at stepping into the shoes and behaving the way people do," Abbott said.

Abbott said the test case was not about any sort of legal rights for machines, rather it was about trying to get a patent for "the inventive output from an AI" that lacks a traditional human inventor.

Essentially, Abbott was arguing that a company that owns an inventive AI, which does not rely on a traditional human inventor, should own the patents.

Some firms were already using AI programmes to discover new drugs or to find ways to repurpose materials but the companies that many of the lawyers on the case represent wanted greater clarity on patent ownership before investing further, he said.

Abbott said putting a person's name down as the inventor instead of DABUS was not an option because in some jurisdictions it was a criminal offence to list the wrong person as the inventor and could render the patent as invalid or unenforceable.

Recognising AI inventorship would encourage companies to develop more AI systems that could create inventions that would benefit society, which was the whole purpose of patent law, he said.

"It won't be all beverage containers, some of it will be, hopefully, treatment for Covid-19 and new types of clean energy."

To date, the only office to grant DABUS a patent was in South Africa.

Applications in Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States had all been rejected, with patent offices saying DABUS could not be listed as an inventor because it was not a natural person.

The application was declined in Australia but later overturned by the Federal Court in 2021 which said the country's patent act had no specific provision excluding AI systems as inventors.

It was now subject of an appeal which is being closely watched by legal experts on both sides of the Tasman.

Abbott was coy about whether its case in New Zealand would succeed.

"Our [case] is particularly challenging because it requires a court to understand the importance of evolutions in technology and to be willing to look at the intent and goals of the patents acts.

"What I am confident in is that this a critical discussion for us to be having right now as a global society and I am confident that together we will come up with rules that will generate the most social value possible from the use of artificial intelligence.

RNZ logo
This story was originally published on RNZ.co.nz and is republished with permission.
Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Cybercrime
The ups and downs and runarounds of catching cybercriminals
We're becoming more and more aware of cybercrimes but how many criminals actually get caught? The New Zealand police explain why the answer is complicated.
Story image
Informatica
Informatica, Oracle enter strategic global cloud partnership
Oracle named Informatica as a preferred partner for enterprise cloud data integration and data governance for data warehouse and lakehouse solutions on OCI. 
Story image
Chorus
Chorus and Nokia launches first trial of 25G PON broadband
Chorus and Nokia have announced the successful demonstration of 25 gigabit per second fibre (Gbps) broadband technology at the Chorus Fibre Lab in Auckland. 
Story image
Cybersecurity
What every CISO must answer to enable a best-in-class security operations program
It has been widely reported recently that South Australian government employees have been the victims of a cyberattack.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Frost & Sullivan recognises Genesys as leader in new reports
Frost & Sullivan has recognised Genesys as a leader in the cloud contact centre market for its robust cloud and digital capabilities.
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft previews Power Platform website design offering
Microsoft has announced the preview of Power Pages, the fifth product in its Power Platform family, designed for low-code makers and professional developers.
Story image
Data Protection
Information management capabilities to meet privacy requirements
Organisations with customers or operations across more than one country face a spate of new and proposed privacy and data protection laws.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Harnessing digital innovations to maximise loyalty programmes and improve CX
When it comes to the retail sector, merchants have never had access to so many different client touchpoints and data to understand their customers better.
Story image
Sustainability
SoftIron named global leader for efficient DC infrastructure solutions
SoftIron has been named a global leader for supplying energy-efficient data infrastructure solutions for core-to-edge data centers after an assessment by Earth Capital Ltd.
Story image
Manhattan Associates
Shortening the click-to-customer cycle through smart technologies
Speed of delivery without accuracy is a dealbreaker for consumers. How can retailers operating in an omnichannel environment overcome the challenge of click-to-customer cycle times.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Accenture - a collective security approach a driving factor for cyber resilience
With the approaching Davos World Economic Forum upon us, it is even more imperative to discuss the impact of cybersecurity on business operations leading into the future.
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft, Cloudian partnership offers data center flexibility
Cloudian’s HyperStore object storage platform is now integrated and validated to work with Microsoft SQ Server 2022, offering more flexible and scalable data centers.
Story image
Ponemon Institute
Email revealed to be riskiest channel for data loss
More than half (60%) of organisations experienced data loss or exfiltration caused by an employee mistake on email in the last 12 months.
Story image
Check Point
Check Point and CCTV expert join forces to boost protection
The partnership will involve Check Point Quantum IoT Protect Nano Agent being embedded in Provision-ISR’s CCTV cameras for on-device runtime protection.
Story image
Silver Peak
The path to an adaptive, modern network
Managing and securing the network looks different than it did just two years ago—especially given that most of these networks are made up of multi-generations of infrastructure stitched together over time.
Story image
Infosys
Consumer relationships with digital services continues to change
Two years of pandemic-induced reliance on technology for work has altered our relationship with digital apps and services, new research has found.
Story image
Vectra AI
Vectra’s inaugural Partner of the Year Awards revealed
APAC companies Baidam, Firmus, ShellSoft and Macnica have been recognised in Vectra AI's inaugural Partner of the Year Awards.
Story image
Digital Marketing
Similarweb acquires SEO and rank tracking company Rank Ranger
Digital intelligence company Similarweb, which specialises in analysing web traffic, has acquired Rank Ranger, a market leader in SEO and rank tracking.
Story image
Kubernetes
Sysdig unveils new Kubernetes troubleshooting and cloud innovations
Sysdig has introduced two new innovations that look to help bolster cloud services and simplify Kubernetes troubleshooting.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Digital transformation increasing business complexities
A new survey suggests businesses must re-examine their digital transformation approach to better help employees adapt to change.
Darktrace
Threat actors are exploiting weaknesses in interconnected IT/OT ecosystems. Darktrace illuminates your entire business and takes targeted action to stop emerging attacks.
Link image
Story image
Data Center
Preventing downtime costs and damage with Distributed Infrastructure Management
Distributed Infrastructure Management (DIM) can often be a lifeline for many enterprises that work with highly critical ICT infrastructure and power sources.
Story image
Digital Marketing
Getty Images delves into the world of NFTs with Candy Digital
Getty Images and Candy Digital, the next-generation digital collectible company, have announced a new multi-year partnership agreement.
Story image
Rackspace
Skills shortages hold orgs back from capitalising on cloud 2.0
Organisations are becoming more comfortable with sophisticated 'cloud 2.0' technologies, even as they confront difficulties in hiring and retaining IT talent.
Story image
Red Sift
Entrust expands strategic partnership with Red Sift
Entrust has expanded its strategic partnership with Red Sift to make it easier for businesses to adopt Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) standards for email identification and security.
Exabeam
Find out how a behavioural analytics-driven approach can transform security operations with the new Exabeam commissioned Forrester study.
Link image
Story image
Identity and Access Management
The post-pandemic workforce requires secure IAM capabilities
HID Global discusses what identity and access management means for organisations in today's convoluted digital world.
Story image
Digital Signage
MAXHUB's Digital Signage range to bolster boardroom productivity
The new MAXHUB Digital Signage technology is purpose-built to make every kind of team meeting more effective.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity prompts upgrade for 1.3 billion electricity meters
ABI Research finds Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and cybersecurity concerns are prompting the upgrade of 1.3 billion electricity meters by 2027.
Story image
MEC
MEC spending for private cellular networks to reach $5.8b
A new ABI Research report finds the revenue for Multi Access Edge Compute (MEC) deployments for private cellular networks will reach USD$5.8 billion by 2030.
Story image
Ransomware
APAC organisations fail to disclose ransomware breaches
85% of organisations in APAC were breached by ransomware at least once in the past five years, but only 28% publicly disclosed the incident.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Gartner reveals top three tech trends for banks this year
Gartner says generative artificial intelligence, autonomic systems and privacy-enhancing computation are gaining traction in banking and investment services.
Story image
Cyber attacks
Devastating cyber attacks expected to hit energy sector
Energy executives anticipate life, property, and environment-compromising cyber attacks on the sector within the next two years.
Story image
Hybrid Cloud
Barracuda expands cloud-native SASE platform
"The expansion of Barracuda's cloud-native SASE platform for hybrid deployment models and IIoT environments solves a number of challenges."
Story image
CrescoData
SPS network now available to CrescoData eCommerce customers
CrescoData, a Pitney Bowes Company and PaaS business in the commerce space, says its customers can now connect to the SPS Commerce Retail Network.
Story image
SaaS
The paradox of change, and how to get around it
The business decision to technologically transform should not come from an IT department but from the business itself.
Story image
Sustainability
Aligned Data Centers increases sustainability-linked loan
Aligned Data Centers has increased its sustainability-linked loan from $375 million to $1.75 billion to speed up the next phase of its strategic growth.
Story image
Training
Trojan cyber attacks hitting SMBs harder than ever - Kaspersky
In 2022 the number of Trojan-PSW detections increased by almost a quarter compared to the same period in 2021 to reach 4,003,323.
Story image
Multi Cloud
Red Hat updates dev tools, empowers use of hybrid and multicloud
Red Hat has unveiled updates across its portfolio of developer tools, designed to help organisations build and deliver applications faster.
Story image
Surveillance
i-PRO releases smallest AI-based surveillance camera on the market
The new i-PRO mini network camera is now available, with a pocket-sized form factor and full AI analytics functionality.
Story image
Women in Technology
Huawei webinar emphasises the importance of women in tech
Industry findings by Coursera discussed as part of a webinar jointly organised by Huawei and Reuters Events found 6% more women enrolled in tech courses this year than in 2021.
Story image
BYOD / Bring Your Own Device
How zero trust can lead the battle against ransomware
SecOps teams champion a zero trust strategy to support the fight against the escalating risk of cybercrime and help monitor threat actors across a network.
Story image
Microsoft
Elevation of Privilege the top 2021 Microsoft vulnerability
BeyondTrust has released its 2022 Microsoft Vulnerabilities Report, finding that Elevation of Privilege is the top vulnerability category for the second consecutive year.
Story image
Sift
Sift shares crucial advice for preventing serious ATO breaches
Are you or your business struggling with Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)? One of the latest ebooks from Sift can provide readers with the tools and expertise to help launch them into the new era of account security.