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When Machines Become Creators: Computers Capable of Generating Inventions and the Implications on Law and Society


November 12, 2007 4:00pm - 5:30pm


Codex: The Stanford Center for Computers and Law: Speaker Series welcomes speaker Robert Plotkin, J.D.

Computers increasingly are being used to automate the process of inventing. Recent examples include a NASA antenna, and train nosecone whose designs were generated by software. Such invention-automating technology is both driving down the cost of inventing and changing the skills required to be an inventor.

This technology raises difficult questions for patent law, such as whether invention-automating software, the inventions it produces should be patentable. If invention-automation technology drives down the cost and increases the ease of inventing, is there any reason to maintain the patent system at all?