The UK Supreme Court has upheld decisions of the High Court and Court of Appeal in ruling that artificial intelligence (“AI”) cannot be listed as an inventor in respect of patent applications, in a landmark decision in the world of AI.
Dr Stephen Thaler first applied to name his AI “Dabus” as the inventor for patents relating to a food container and flashing light beacon. The UK Intellectual Property Office (“IPO”) rejected the application, citing that only a natural person can be named as inventor, a decision that was subsequently ratified by the High Court and Court of Appeal.
The matter was then appealed to the Supreme Court by Dr Thaler. Five Supreme Court judges dismissed the appeal, concluding that an AI cannot be listed as an inventor for the purpose of a patent and the basis that “an inventor must be a person”.
Dr Thaler expressed his disappointment at the outcome of his appeal, stating that Dabus is a “conscious and sentient form of machine intelligence”. The IPO welcomed the Supreme Court’s verdict. This is a potentially significant decision given the rapid rise in AI in the recent past and will provide welcome clarity in discussions surrounding AI and IP rights.
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