Current Position: Home > IP News > AI as inventor? Korean Intellectual Property Office rejects first application for AI invention

On June 3, 2021, the website of the Korean Intellectual Property Office released the preliminary results of the first patent application in South Korea that used artificial intelligence (AI) as the inventor. It held that AI as the inventor violated the patent law and required it to modify the inventor as a natural person. If the applicant does not agree to the amendment, the patent application will be invalid. The applicant may file an administrative appeal or lawsuit against the invalidation.

It is reported that on May 17, 2021, the American Artificial Intelligence Developer (Applicant: Stephen Taylor) entered the Korean stage in the PCT patent application, and submitted an international patent application with artificial intelligence ("DABUS") as the inventor. This is the first application for artificial intelligence invention in Korea.

The applicant said that he did not have the relevant knowledge of the invention. After learning the general knowledge, his "DABUS" created two different inventions, such as food containers.

On May 27, 2021, the preliminary examination result of the patent rejected the application and put forward the request for amendment. It was considered that there was a defect in defining artificial intelligence as the form of inventor before judging whether artificial intelligence directly invented the patent. South Korea's intellectual property law and relevant precedents only identify natural person as inventor, so companies, legal persons, equipment, etc. that are not natural person cannot be regarded as inventor. At present, the United States, Britain, Germany and other countries have adopted the basic principle.

So far, most people at home and abroad in South Korea still regard AI as a simple tool. However, if AI creates inventions like human beings due to the development of technology, there may be a situation that neither human beings nor AI can become inventors or obligees.


The most representative issues of various controversies around AI invention are whether AI can be regarded as the inventor, who will be the obligee of AI invention, and the duration of AI invention rights. The details are as follows:

① Can AI be identified as co inventor or sole inventor?

② Who is the right holder among AI developers, owners and users?

③ AI is easier to invent than natural person. Should the duration of AI invention be shorter than that of natural person?

To this end, the Korean Intellectual Property Office plans to set up a legal advisory committee to collect opinions from industry, University and research institutes, and actively participate in the talks with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the five major intellectual property offices (IP5). The Korean Intellectual Property Office said that it would take this case as an opportunity to speed up the discussion on artificial intelligence inventions and formulate a reasonable intellectual property system to correctly cope with the coming fourth industrial revolution era.

[tips] source: intellectual property information of Chinese Academy of Sciences. The copyright belongs to the original author. If there is something wrong, please contact to inform us of modification or deletion. Thank you.

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