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Still not the end of the world (for now) – Patents and AI

5th Feb 2024 | Commercial Law | Contracts & Agreements | Intellectual Property
Magnifying glass looking at Chat GPT wording and symbols on a pink background

Back in April 2023, our ‘chat’ was around the ownership of the content created by artificial intelligence systems, such as ChatGPT.

Since then, the UK Supreme Court has ruled that AI cannot be listed as the “inventor” when registering a patent with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and cannot be the owner of patent rights on the grounds that an inventor must be a “natural person”.  

The Court passed down its judgement on 20 December 2023, in which Stephen Thaler’s appeal to have two patents granted in the UK for inventions created autonomously by his AI machine ‘DABUS’ was rejected.

Further, the Court ruled that Thaler was not entitled to the grant of a patent on the basis that he owned DABUS because the Patents Act 1977 does not confer a right on any person to obtain a patent generated autonomously by a machine, let alone a right purely based on ownership of that machine.

Thaler has faced similar resistance to his attempts to register DABUS’ inventions around the world on the basis that DABUS is not a ‘natural person’ and does not have any rights.

1-0 to mankind.

So, where does that leave us when it comes to who really own patentable inventions created by artificial intelligence systems? 

It appears that, for the time being, owners of AI systems like DABUS would need to register for patents by listing themselves as the inventor rather than the AI.

For more information on the issues in this article or any other copyright, patent, or intellectual property query, please get in touch with Tom Justice (a human) on 0191 211 7913 or email [email protected].

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