Israel: Could the Startup Nation be the First to Allow AI Inventors?

Dr. Thaler launched a worldwide effort to have AI recognized as a patent inventor. Thaler submitted two Israeli patent applications in Israel, listing DABUS as the inventor in August 2019. Although, the Israeli Patent Office refused both patent applications in December 2020 and December 2021. The second refusal offered hope since the Israeli examiner accepted Thaler’s arguments that AI could be considered an inventor.

In March 2023, in one of his final decisions, Ofir Alon, the former Israeli Patent Commissioner, reversed the examiner’s determination that AI could be an inventor, rejecting the use of purposeful interpretation to allow AI to be considered an inventor. The former Commissioner explained that interpreting the term “inventor” as including AI would potentially create an asymmetry in policy between Israel and other patent jurisdictions. Commissioner Alon also rejected the application because AI is incapable of transferring rights.

Dr. Thaler has appealed the former Commissioner’s decision. The appeal has a decent chance of success since Israeli courts extensively employ purposive interpretation. Further, Israel will appoint a new Patent Commission in the coming months, so even if Thaler’s appeal is unsuccessful, the new Commissioner may take a pro-AI position.