UK Supreme Court rejects attempt to register AI as inventor with IPO

UK Supreme Court rejects attempt to register AI as inventor with IPO

The UK Supreme Court has upheld decisions rejecting an attempt to allow AI to be named an inventor on a patent application.

Dr Stephen Thaler had tried to have his AI, named Dabus, recognised as the inventor of a food container and a flashing light beacon.

In 2019, however, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) rejected his application on the basis only a person could be named as an inventor.

The High Court and Court of Appeal agreed.

A bench of five in the Supreme Court have upheld that decision. The justices do not address whether Dabus invented the container, only who can be registered as the inventor.

Dr Thaler, who thinks Dabus is a “conscious and sentient form of machine intelligence”, told the BBC: “Naturally, I feel disappointed by this decision, highlighting the ongoing clash between human and machine intelligence.”

The IPO said that “the government will nevertheless keep this area of law under review to ensure that the UK patent system supports AI innovation and the use of AI in the UK”.

Rajvinder Jagdev, of IP litigation firm Powell Gilbert, said: “The judgement does not preclude a person using an AI to devise an invention – in such a scenario, it would be possible to apply for a patent, provided that person is identified as the inventor.

“The judgement alludes that had this been the scenario it had been asked to consider, the outcome may have been different.”

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