Should AI systems be classifiable as patent inventors?

Joshua Gans | University of Toronto
Kimberlee Weatherall | University of Sydney
Jeannie Paterson | University of Melbourne

Date: Wednesday 15 September 2021
Time: 8:00am - 9:00am
Where: Online webinar

Can an artificial intelligent system be the inventor of a patent? Australia’s Federal Court in Thaler v Commissioner of Patents recently ruled yes – and that’s attracting worldwide attention, since it’s the first time that conclusion has been reached in any jurisdiction. In this joint IPRIA/IP Australia breakfast webinar, our internationally esteemed panel will discuss the implications of such a decision.

Listen hear to Joshua Gans, Kimberlee Weatherall and Jeannie Paterson debate whether AI systems should be able to be classified as inventors.

Joshua Gans is a Professor of Strategic Management and holder of the Jeffrey S. Skoll Chair of Technical Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto (with a cross appointment in the Department of Economics). Joshua is also Chief Economist of the University of Toronto’s Creative Destruction Lab. Prior to 2011, he was the foundation Professor of Management (Information Economics) at the Melbourne Business School, University of Melbourne and prior to that he was at the School of Economics, University of New South Wales. In 2011, Joshua was a visiting researcher at Microsoft Research (New England). Joshua holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University and an honors degree in economics from the University of Queensland. In 2012, Joshua was appointed as a Research Associate of the NBER in the Productivity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program.

Kimberlee Weatherall is a Professor of Law at the University of Sydney, and a Chief Investigator with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society. She specialises in issues at the intersection of law and technology, as well as intellectual property law. She is a Fellow at the Gradient Institute, and a research affiliate of the Humanising Machine Intelligence group at the Australian National University. Kimberlee works with researchers in law, data science and media studies on questions relating to AI ethics and legality, data and data governance.

Jeannie Marie Paterson is a Professor of Law at the University of Melbourne. She specialises in the contract, consumer protection and consumer credit law, including the role of emerging digital technologies in these fields.

Jeannie’s research covers three interrelated themes:
1. Regulatory design for consumer protection
2. Concepts of fairness in law and legislation
3. Governance strategies for safe, fair and reliable AI

Jeannie is the co-author (with Andrew Robertson) of Principles of Contract Law (6th ed, 2020), the author of Corones’ Australian Consumer Law (2019) and the co-author (with Hal Bolitho and Nicola Howe) of Duggan and Lanyon on Consumer Credit Law (2020), as well as journal articles on these topics.

Jeannie is the co-director of the Centre for AI and Digital Ethics at the University of Melbourne and co-leader of the Digital Ethics research stream at the Melbourne Social Equity Institute.

View the webinar recording