Artificial intelligence (AI) cannot be the inventor of new patents, the UK Court of Appeal has ruled.
Patents assign the ownership of a new invention to its creator.
At its core, the argument is about whether a law written for human inventors can be applied to machines.
The appeal court ruled against Stephen Thaler, creator of a system called Dabus, who took a case against the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) which refused patents to his AI.
It is the latest such judgement in a long-running battle to grant machines the status of inventor.
Earlier this month, Mr Thaler lost a similar case in the United States – although he has won elsewhere.
Mr Thaler filed two patent applications in 2018, one for a type of food container and one for a flashing light. But he did not list himself as the inventor.
Instead, he chose to list Dabus, arguing that he should be granted the patent, « by ownership of the creativity machine » – while making clear that Dabus, not he, was the inventor.
The IPO told Mr Thaler he needed to list a real person as the inventor – something he did not do, and the IPO decided that the application had been withdrawn.