AI cannot be the inventor of a patent, appeals court rules


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to list a real person as the inventor – something he did not do, and the IPO decided that the application had been withdrawn.

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