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  • The United States Patent and Trademark Office recently ruled that an AI system cannot be listed as an inventor in a patent application, and that inventorship is limited to “natural persons.” Intellectual-property offices in the EU and UK published similar decisions.
  • The stakes are high in domains where IP is critical – AI is already being used in drug discovery, for instance, and inability to protect blockbuster compounds could have sweeping implications. As it stands right now, AI is viewed in most countries as a tool rather than an inventor or owner.
  • For companies, the meaningful question is not whether AI can be an inventor or author but rather whether the output of AI can be owned and protected under intellectual property law. With respect to AI-assisted endeavors, the answer is generally yes. As we look ahead, however, we may start to see a distinction between AI-assisted and AI-generated output.
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