Director's Blog: the latest from USPTO leadership

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Tuesday Apr 18, 2023

With artificial intelligence speeding the innovation process, what does that mean for invention and a properly balanced patent system?

Blog by Kathi Vidal, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO

AI inventorship graphic

Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the most powerful technologies of our generation, and it presents big opportunities and risks. At the USPTO, we are working on the responsible introduction of new AI into our workflow and organizational excellence, and are working across government and closely with the Department of Commerce on AI.

Through our AI and Emerging Technology (ET) Partnership, we are also looking closely at the growing role of AI in innovation and its potential to dramatically affect our lives, improve our country’s competitiveness, economic prosperity, and national security. Our AI/ET Partnership supports the Biden Administration’s whole-of-government approach to AI, including the National AI Initiative to advance U.S. leadership in AI.

As AI assumes a larger and larger role in innovation, and given recent developments and the current trajectory in innovation in AI, we are presented with new questions. If an AI system can contribute to an invention at the same level as a human, is the invention patentable under current law? Does allowing AI systems to be listed as inventors promote and incentivize innovation? Should the USPTO require applicants to provide an explanation of contributions AI systems made to inventions claimed in patent applications? These are some of the questions we are asking in our recent request for comments on AI and inventorship.

For the last several years, the USPTO has been exploring these and other questions about the role of AI in innovation. And we know that role is increasing. We recently analyzed all of our patents to study the impact that artificial intelligence is having on technology development in the United States and the world. We found that 80,000 of our utility patent applications in 2020 involved artificial intelligence –  150% higher than in 2002. AI now appears in 18% of all utility patent applications we receive, and in more than 50% of all the technologies that we examine at the USPTO.

This data reinforces that AI is important in innovation in all industries, and from all regions of the country. And we know there are a lot of surrounding questions related to AI and inventorship.

AI has the potential to benefit our wellbeing in many ways, from revolutionizing the drug discovery and development process to helping address climate change. It also presents potential drawbacks, some of which we may not even yet recognize. It’s important that we take a measured approach and hear your feedback on these important issues.

That’s why we need your input on how the U.S. government should address AI-enabled innovations while ensuring that our laws and policies continue to encourage and incentivize innovation without unduly locking up advances that can be readily discovered with the use of AI. Our takeaways will shape our future work on AI and ET policy at the USPTO and will help inform the broader U.S. government’s approach to these critical technologies.

We have listening sessions coming up to learn about the impact of AI on the invention process and intellectual property on April 25 at the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, VA, and on May 8 at Stanford University. You can attend both sessions either in-person or virtually, and we’ll make recordings available afterwards. And, planning is already underway for our next AI and Emerging Technologies (ET) Partnership event later this summer. There, we’ll focus on how we are responsibly using AI tools at the USPTO. You can find information about all these events on our AI and ET Partnership page of the USPTO website

I hope you will join us at an upcoming listening session and encourage you to submit your feedback to the request for comments by May 15. We look forward to hearing from you!


Interested in the US Government, US Department of Commerce and USPTO’s view on Microsoft stealing trademarks and intellectual property from US citizens using Microsoft cloud and Microsoft AI’s.

Posted by Mona Khanna on April 18, 2023 at 04:04 PM EDT #

Thank you for your article.

Posted by Sambulo Kunene on April 18, 2023 at 04:14 PM EDT #

I am only now reading up on this but - I would certainly feel my invention could be stolen as it could perform as a physical vase unit for AI robotics on wheels

Posted by Piavazelle Chaney Jerome on April 18, 2023 at 04:23 PM EDT #

Need more information.would live to attend. Ai is amazing when can read iT several ways

Posted by Scot ringa on April 18, 2023 at 05:22 PM EDT #

There is nothing in place to prevent IP theft using AI, reconfiguring wordage in order to expedite a patent ahead of the rightful owner. Trade Secrets will be compromised by AI services preying on intellectuals while pretending to be smart. It is all a scam. Machines don't learn, they process information at incredible speeds that imitate thinking. AI should never have rights other than patent rights of their function.

Posted by Stan Kippen on April 19, 2023 at 06:49 PM EDT #

Very Informative Content.

Posted by Triple Hash on April 21, 2023 at 10:40 AM EDT #

Very Informative Content.

Posted by Kotelit on May 09, 2023 at 05:34 AM EDT #

It's good that the USPTO is working on AI in inventions, but they need to do more to handle risks. We should involve more experts and keep an eye on AI's impact, making sure we encourage innovation while protecting everyone's interests.

Posted by Katie Logan on May 10, 2023 at 10:23 AM EDT #

The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) has undoubtedly impacted the innovation process, allowing for faster and more efficient development of new products and services. However, this has also raised questions about the role of the patent system in fostering innovation and balancing the interests of inventors and the public. On one hand, AI has the potential to revolutionize the way we approach patentability and patent infringement. For example, AI can be used to analyze vast amounts of data and identify potential areas of patent infringement, allowing for more efficient and accurate identification of potential infringers. Additionally, AI can be used to automate certain parts of the patent application process, such as prior art searches and drafting patent applications, making it easier and less costly for inventors to obtain patent protection.

Posted by airports details on May 16, 2023 at 03:58 AM EDT #

The USPTO's focus on the responsible introduction of AI in innovation is crucial. As AI continues to shape our world, it's essential to address questions about inventorship and patentability. Striking the right balance between promoting innovation and addressing potential risks is key. Collaboration and public input are vital in navigating the opportunities and challenges presented by AI. Let's ensure a measured and inclusive approach to harnessing the full potential of this powerful technology for the benefit of society.

Posted by thecurrent-online on May 17, 2023 at 05:06 AM EDT #

Artificial intelligence (AI) is undoubtedly a transformative technology with immense potential. It is encouraging to see that the USPTO is actively engaged in exploring the responsible integration of AI into their workflow and organizational practices. The focus on collaboration, both within the government and with the Department of Commerce, reflects the recognition of AI's significance in driving innovation, economic growth, and national security. The USPTO's AI and Emerging Technology Partnership is a commendable initiative that acknowledges the growing role of AI in shaping our lives. The alignment of this partnership with the Biden Administration's National AI Initiative further underscores the commitment to advancing U.S. leadership in AI.

Posted by parfum on May 27, 2023 at 01:44 PM EDT #

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