Academics have been debating for a while whether machines can be inventors for the purposes of patent law. Earlier this month, University of Surrey IP professor Ryan Abbott and others upped the ante, forming the Artificial Inventor Project and filing patents around the world that list an AI machine as the inventor.

The USPTO, which convened a conference earlier this year on AI and IP, is now formally requesting comments from the public on patenting artificial intelligence inventions. PTO Deputy Director Laura Peter publicized the request in a blog post Monday, highlighting four sample questions the agency intends to address. We’ve asked a couple of experts—Fish & Richardson senior principal John Dragseth and Winston & Strawn’s managing partner for Silicon Valley, Kathi Vidal, for some quick takes.

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