Back in December 2020 I reported on the progress of an Australian patent application naming an ‘artificial intelligence’ going by the name DABUS (‘Device for the Autonomous Bootstrapping of Unified Sentience’) as inventor. The application – no. 2019363177 – was derived from an international application filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), and names Dr Stephen Thaler, the developer of DABUS, as applicant. At that time, the Australian Patent Office had raised an objection to the naming of a machine as inventor, and sought further submissions from the applicant on this issue. I anticipated that the case would be referred to a hearing officer to determine the matter by way of a formal decision, and predicted that Dr Thaler’s rather unconventional assertions that an AI can be an inventor, and that he is entitled to receive any resulting patents by virtue of ownership of the AI, were unlikely to be accepted by the Patent Office.
That has all now come to pass, with a decision of a delegate of the Commission of Patents issued on 9 February 2021: Stephen L. Thaler  APO 5. In accordance with the plan language of the Australian Patents Act, and established legal principles, the delegate has determined that a patent can only be granted to a person, that a machine is not a person, and that there is no mechanism whereby the right to apply for a patent on an invention devised by a machine can be legally transferred to any person.
In short, a patent application naming a non-human inventor cannot be validly filed, regardless of who is named as the applicant. A corollary of this (although not addressed in the decision) is that a patent on an invention devised by a machine can never be validly granted, even if the true nature of the inventor is concealed from the Patent Office, because there is simply no mechanism for any named applicant to derive a legal right to apply. In practice, applicants are required to provide the Patent Office with a declaration of entitlement, and in the case of a machine invention this declaration would necessarily be invalid and/or false.