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IPニュース 2022.01.07
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判決:Thaler v Commissioner of Patents [2021] FCA 879



 Stephen L. Thaler(以下、「Thaler」)は、2019年9月17日に、「Food Container and Devices and Methods for Attracting Enhanced Attention」と題するオーストラリア特許出願第2019363177号(以下、「本出願」)を出願した。本出願の発明者は、「DABUS, The invention was autonomously generated by an artificial intelligence」であった(DABUS:Device for the Autonomous Bootstrapping of Unified Sentience)。


・第1に、発明者は動作主名詞(agent noun)であり、発明をする動作主には、人でも物でもなり得る。

 第1の理由に関して、Beach判事は、「・・・as the word “inventor” is not defined in the Act or the Regulations, it has its ordinary meaning. In this respect then, the word “inventor” is an agent noun. In agent nouns, the suffix “or” or “er” indicates that the noun describes the agent that does the act referred to by the verb to which the suffix is attached. “Computer”, “controller”, “regulator”, “distributor”, “collector”, “lawnmower” and “dishwasher” are all agent nouns. As each example demonstrates, the agent can be a person or a thing. Accordingly, if an artificial intelligence system is the agent which invents, it can be described as an “inventor”. 」と述べている。
 これは、語尾のer、or 等の接尾語の意味は、(特許法等でこれらの解釈の規定がないので)一般的な意味で解釈するべきであり、動作の主体を明記するものであり、その主体は、例示された語から明らかなように、人だけでなく物も含まれる、という解釈に依拠していると考えられる。

 第2の理由に関しては、関連事項として、Beach判事は、「・・・in considering the scheme of the Act, it has been said that a widening conception of “manner of manufacture” is a necessary feature of the development of patent law in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries as scientific discoveries inspire new technologies” (D’Arcy v Myriad Genetics Inc (2015) 258 CLR 334 at [18] per French CJ, Kiefel, Bell and Keane JJ). I see no reason why the concept of “inventor” should not also be seen in an analogously flexible and evolutionary way. After all the expressions “manner of [new] manufacture” and “inventor” derive from the 21 Ja 1 c 3 (Statute of Monopolies) 1623 (Imp) s 6. There is a synergy if not a symmetry in both being flexibly treated. Indeed, it makes little sense to be flexible about one and not the other. Tension is created if you give flexibility to “manner of manufacture” and then restrict “inventor”. You would be recognising an otherwise patentable invention and then saying that as there is no inventor it cannot be patented.」と述べている。


オーストラリア連邦裁判所HP:Thaler v Commissioner of Patents [2021] FCA 879判決文

(鈴木 康弘)