Can Chat GPT invent a patentable invention on its own?

Chat GPT patents

Chat GPT is an open-source chatbot created by Open AI. It is designed to understand natural language and generate responses to questions asked by users. It can generate textual answers so real that one feels like they are conversing with another human instead of a bot. This naturally has led to Chat GPT being used in a wide variety of applications across industry and the possibilities are endless.

In the patent world, Chat GPT is being curiously used for patent drafting and generate new ideas. This prompted me to ask Chat GPT to generate a patentable invention to test if it can help inventors generate patentable inventions.

Here’s how our chat went:

Chat gpt patent
Can Chat GPT invent?

I kept the initial query general and simply asked Chat GPT to invent a patentable invention. Since the idea Chat GPT generated, was very brief, I asked it to elaborate it. To my surprise, it did came up with more implementation details about the smart umbrella it invented. 

Can chat gpt invent
Generating a Chat GPT patent

Now, according to Chat GPT, the smartness added to a conventional umbrella makes it a ‘potentially’ patentable invention. Inventors must note here that Chat GPT does not claim it to be a patentable idea with certainty. In this specific invention, it is worth noting that if both these features (e.g., ‘smart’ and ‘umbrella’) are separately known. Merely combining them to form a smart umbrella may not result in a patentable invention unless there is an unexpected result or a specific technical advantage to it. Therefore, it is essential that inventors should get a patentability assessment done before directly filing patent applications based on Chat GPT generated inventions.

One could continue this process further and deep dive into each feature for more clarity, but I I took a different direction. I asked Chat GPT to write 5 claims for this invention. This was to check if it can do also assist a Patent Attorney or potentially replace one!

Interestingly, it did write the claims as instructed. However, the job in writing claims is quite rudimentary and this is not how claims are typically written by Patent Attorneys. Chat GPT misses out several legalities such as claim dependencies, proper claim formatting, including sub-features in the claims and so on. But then, it is limited by the possibilities based on the data sets it is trained on. Claim-writing is a core legal process and it may be very early to expect Chat GPT to do a good job at it.

chat gpt patent drafting
Chat GPT claim drafting

While it did write the first 2 claims based on the two key features highlighted above, the claimed subject matter is correct. However, the format is quite not the usual format that Patent Attorneys use in claim writing. If you see claims 3-5, it’s neither a dependent claim nor an independent claim.  There is no preamble-and-main body combination in the independent claims either. 

However, for a starting point, CGPT does a decent job of at least putting together a structured invention disclosure document for an inventor to provide it to a Patent Attorney. 

As a further step, I added a slight twist to my chat, just to see whether CGPT actually does a background research on the novelty of the idea it proposes. I asked it for find a prior art for its own generated invention. While it did not lead my to a specific prior art that discloses a smart umbrella, it did give the right direction on at least how can I find a prior art to each individual key feature of the invention Chat GPT generated. 

Chat GPT also provided a bunch of different known solutions in view of which, the invention proposed by Chat GPT may seem obvious and hence, not exactly patentable. This can give inventors directions to perform their own prior art search before even spending a single dollar on a patent application process. However, I recommend not to give out the entire invention to Chat GPT since there may be confidentiality issues at this stage with the software.

The above exercise led me to conclude 2 aspects:

  1. Human inventors should not rely completely on Chat GPT-generated inventions as patentable but should get a prior art search done to validate the idea. While AI can be a good assistant, it may not necessarily generate patentable ideas with certainty at this stage.
  2. Chat GPT does not actually “search” the novelty of the idea when writing the claims. It simply extracts the key features and forms claims as several bullet points, which is not necessarily the correct approach that a Patent Attorney would take.

Moral of the story is that inventors should use it as an assitive tool only. They may generate a bunch of ideas, research on problem statements and solutions to them but they should build up from there to insert their own brain-stormed novel and non-obvious features and have them evaluated by patent professionals.   

Patent examination involves complex analysis of the key features and application of rejecitons to the key features. At the moment, CGPT seems to generally touch upon the analysis but cannot equate the same level of analysis as would be done by an a patent professional or an Examiner. It would be interesting to see how AI-based patent analysis evolves with time. 

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