I am not worried about my job just yet, but I must admit that ChatGPT is getting better at drafting patent claims. Or, at least, drafting something which on first inspection appears to be a patent claim.
Using this capability, the video game team at Kilburn &Strode has invented a fun new game which we’d like to share with the world.
We have used ChatGPT to write patent claims for 5 fictional video game items. The aim of the game is to guess the item, and the video game series it comes from.
Here is a warm-up round for you to get the idea. Which famous video game item does this claim protect?
a) a spherical outer casing made of a durable material, with a front opening for releasing and retrieving living creatures;
b) an inner mechanism for capturing, storing, and releasing living creatures, comprising a central core, a release mechanism, and a locking mechanism;
c) a means for detecting the presence of living creatures in proximity to the device, comprising sensors and algorithms for analyzing data obtained from the sensors;
d) a means for capturing living creatures, comprising a mechanism for emitting energy or other forms of radiation to weaken or immobilize the living creature, followed by a mechanism for drawing the weakened or immobilized creature into the device through the front opening;
e) a means for storing living creatures, comprising a storage system within the device for holding captured living creatures, with a mechanism for feeding and caring for the creature while it is contained within the device;
f) a means for releasing living creatures, comprising a mechanism for opening the front opening of the device and releasing the creature back into the environment.
Surely you guessed it? That’s right: a Poké Ball. (I didn’t fully appreciate how horrifying the concept of a Poké Ball is until I read that clause d) …)
Here is the prompt we used to generate this claim:
Write a patent claim for a poke ball from the pokemon video game series. Please write the patent claim as though this is a real item that actually exists.
Now you get the idea, how many of the below fictional video game items can you guess from the Chat GPT drafted claims? Answers and brief comments are at the end.
a) a pair of retractable blades, each having a curved shape and a serrated edge;
b) a chain mechanism attached to each of said blades, said chain mechanism allowing for extended reach and flexibility in weapon movement;
c) a handle grip for each of said blades, said handle grip configured for user manipulation and control;
d) a mechanism for launching and retracting said blades, wherein said mechanism is operable by a user's input;
e) a means for controlling the direction and speed of said blades during combat;
f) a mechanism for rotating said blades about said chain mechanism, allowing for varied attack styles and strategies;
g) a means for attaching said blades to objects or enemies for traversal or offensive purposes;
h) a means for igniting said blades with fire, providing additional damage and elemental effects to enemies; and
i) a means for regenerating the user's health or powers upon successful hits or combos with said blades.
a) a compact and durable casing containing a retractable metal chain with a grappling hook at one end;
b) a mechanism for launching the grappling hook over distances, comprising a compressed air-powered launcher or a similar means;
c) a mechanism for retracting the chain and the attached hook back into the casing, comprising a motor-powered winding mechanism or a similar means;
d) a means for securing the grappling hook onto a surface, comprising sharp tips or barbs on the hook or a similar means;
e) a means for transporting users or objects using the grappling hook and chain, comprising a strong and durable connection between the hook and the chain, and a handle or similar means for the user to hold onto while being pulled by the device;
f) a means for controlling the launch, retraction, and direction of the device, comprising buttons or triggers on the handle or the casing, and a directional joystick or similar means.
a) a shell-shaped body constructed of a durable material;
b) an onboard guidance system comprising sensors, processors, and transmitters;
c) a propulsion system comprising one or more engines or thrusters;
d) a mechanism for detecting a leading racer in a race, said mechanism comprising sensors and processing algorithms to determine the relative position and velocity of the leading racer;
e) a mechanism for locking onto the leading racer and pursuing said racer, said mechanism being activated upon detection of the leading racer;
f) a means for adjusting the trajectory of the device to intercept the leading racer, said means comprising the guidance system and propulsion system;
g) a means for detonating the device upon impact with the leading racer, said means comprising an explosive charge or other destructive mechanism;
h) a mechanism for causing an explosion or shock wave upon detonation, said mechanism being designed to disrupt the leading racer's momentum and trajectory;
i) a means for disabling or destroying any obstacles or other racers that may be in the path of the device during pursuit.
a) a compact and ergonomic casing containing a power source, a control unit, and two portal projectors;
b) a means for creating a blue portal, comprising a blue portal projector that emits a high-energy beam that forms the entrance of the blue portal;
c) a means for creating an orange portal, comprising an orange portal projector that emits a high-energy beam that forms the entrance of the orange portal;
d) a means for connecting the two portals, comprising a stable and spatially consistent wormhole that enables users or objects to travel instantly from one portal to the other;
e) a means for controlling the position and orientation of the portals, comprising a targeting mechanism that allows users to aim the portal projectors at desired locations and a trigger mechanism that activates the portal projectors;
f) a means for ensuring the safety and stability of the portals, comprising a built-in failsafe that prevents the creation of portals in hazardous or unstable environments, and a limited energy supply that prevents the sustained use of portals for extended periods.
a) a geometric shape that is composed of four square units arranged in a specific pattern, wherein the square units are of equal size and are arranged in a rectangular formation;
b) a means for rotating the block, comprising a rotation mechanism that allows the block to be rotated in 90-degree increments about its center of mass;
c) a means for moving the block, comprising a translation mechanism that allows the block to be moved horizontally or vertically within the game grid;
d) a means for interacting with other blocks, comprising a locking mechanism that causes the block to become fixed in place when it lands on another block or the game grid bottom;
e) a means for generating additional blocks, comprising a block generation mechanism that generates new blocks in a predetermined sequence;
f) a means for scoring points, comprising a scoring mechanism that awards points to a player for clearing lines of blocks from the game grid.
1. The Blades of Chaos from the God of War series
2. The Hookshot from the Legend of Zelda game series
3. The Blue Shell from the Mario Kart game series
4. The Portal Gun from the Portal series
5. A ‘Block’ from Tetris (I will brook no debate about whether this counts as a game item)
Constructive criticism from a patent attorney
Whenever ChatGPT is asked to draft a patent claim, it comes with this (or a similar) disclaimer:
Please note that this claim is for illustrative purposes only and is not a legal claim that can be used for actual patent filing. Creating a valid patent claim requires in-depth knowledge of patent law and a thorough understanding of the specific invention being claimed. It is recommended to consult with a qualified patent attorney or agent for assistance in drafting a proper patent claim for a real-world invention.
I agree that it is advisable to consult a qualified attorney when drafting claims, although it is incredibly interesting to see what AI models are already capable of.
If I may offer ChatGPT some constructive criticism on its claim drafting style, using the tried-and-tested ‘feedback sandwich’ approach: I think the claim language demonstrates a surprisingly solid understanding of the underlying (fictional) technology. If a human had written these claims, I would be left in no doubt that they understand how these items work. Also, in my view, the model shows some flair when it comes to filling in technical blanks (I suppose that a blue shell would indeed require sensors and processing algorithms to determine the relative position and velocity of the leading racer, for example, although this is never disclosed to the player).
However, the claim drafting style is overly reliant on functional language, with constant repetition of “means for function”. This style can sometimes be useful for achieving claim breadth, but I think these claims would likely result in clarity objections at patent offices worldwide, and certainly in Europe some of these claims would face an objection that the language attempts to define the invention merely by ‘a result to be achieved’. Also, ChatGPT seems incapable of making a reasonable decision on which features are likely to be considered essential from a commercial perspective, and seems to be aiming more to “describe” than “define”. Would Aperture Science really be happy if a patent attorney restricted their portal gun patent to require blue and orange portals? Assuming the colours were a stylistic choice, this would create a significant ‘work-around’ for competitors. There is also a potential lack of understanding of patent eligibility laws – personally, I would take the time to review eligibility guidelines worldwide, e.g. the EPO’s guidelines under the heading ‘matter contrary to morality’, before I cheerfully claimed a “means for disabling or destroying […] other racers that may be in the path of the device during pursuit”.
However, it is clear that these claims are of the right structure and format. For example, the model understands the concept of antecedent basis. I can absolutely see a future in which this type of tool is useful for providing inspiration for language to use in a tricky claim (although I caution any readers to avoid using ChatGPT for help with unpublished inventions – the prompts are not private and this would almost certainly count as a disclosure). In fact, much of the constructive feedback I’ve given above is of the same type that I might give to patent attorneys in their first year of training. Does this mean that, even if the model only improves at the relatively slow pace of a human patent trainee, that ChatGPT will be ready to pass the drafting paper of the European Qualifying Examinations in a mere 3-4 years? Like I said, I’m not worried about my job… yet.
So, how did you do on our quiz? Which claim was your favourite? Did we miss your favourite game item? Let us know!
You can contact Tom Hamer or a member of our video game team with any comments, questions or suggestions on this article.