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DABUS Saga Continues: Loss for Dr. Stephen Thaler In New Zealand Appeal

DABUS, short for Device for the Autonomous Bootstrapping of Unified Sentience, has suffered another court loss in it’s creator’s quest for it to be recognized as an inventor by the world’s patent offices. Dr. Stephen Thaler, the creator of DABUS, filed patent applications in several national patent offices naming DABUS as the sole inventor. Dr. Thaler’s applications were denied in several cases and Dr. Thaler appealed to courts in multiple jurisdictions. Dr. Thaler has since had successes in South Africa and Australia and losses in the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Most recently, a judgment was issued from the High Court of New Zealand in which Palmer J. dismissed Dr. Thaler’s appeal from the decision of the Assistant Commissioner of Patents. The judgment assessed whether the definition of inventor under New Zealand law requires the inventor to be a natural person. Palmer J. indicated that a “natural reading of the section suggests the inventor is a person”. After discussing the legislative context and legislative history of the New Zealand Patents Act 2013, Palmer J concluded that, while the law did not explicitly require that an inventor is a person, it still appeared to be the intent of Parliament that inventors be natural persons. Palmer J. further stated that it would not be appropriate for the courts to expand the definition of inventor through statutory interpretation, but that such an expansion should be effected by Parliament, explicitly, if that was their intent.

For our previous commentary on the DABUS Saga, see here and here.

For the full text of the High Court of New Zealand judgment, see here.

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