AI cannot patent UK inventions

The UK Supreme Court has upheld earlier decisions to reject a bid to allow an artificial intelligence to be named as an inventor in a patent application.

Dr Stephen Thaler (an ‘inventor’), had sought to have his AI, called Dabus, recognised as the inventor of a food container and a flashing light beacon. But in 2019, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) rejected this, saying only a person could be named as an inventor. The decision was then backed by both the High Court and Court of Appeal. The IPO argued, and courts have supported the view, that only ‘persons’ can have patent rights, not Artificial Intelligence.

Now five Supreme Court judges have dismissed a bid to reverse those decisions, concluding that ‘an inventor must be a person’, and that an AI cannot be named as an inventor to secure patent rights.

The judgement does not deal with the issue of whether Dabus did in fact invent the food container and light.

This issue will likely be debated for some time yet – maybe an AI court of the future could decide?

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