June 14, 2024
UK Supreme Court Bars AI Inventorship

UK Supreme Court Bars AI Inventorship

The Supreme Court of Britain has ruled against registering an artificial intelligence system as the inventor of a patent, affirming that only humans can hold such status.

The decision concludes a protracted legal battle led by American technologist Stephen Thaler. Who seeks recognition for his AI, named DABUS, as the inventor of two patents—a food and drink container and a light beacon. Thaler contended that he deserved rights over the AI’s inventions. Both the U.S. and the European Union had previously rejected similar applications by Thaler.

In 2019, the UK Intellectual Property Office denied Thaler’s request, citing DABUS’s non-person status, preventing official registration as the inventor. Despite lower courts supporting the patent office, Thaler elevated the appeal to the Supreme Court.

A unanimous decision from the judges upheld the dismissal, emphasizing DABUS’s non-person status and its lack of contribution to a pertinent invention. This ruling underscores the legal stance that only individuals, not AI systems, can be recognized as inventors.

This legal development underscores the gap between current laws and technological advancements, revealing a need for policy updates in response to the rapid progress of artificial intelligence.

Legal experts, such as Nick White from the law firm Charles Russell Speechlys, acknowledge the increasing sophistication and capability of AI systems in generating novel products and processes. While change is anticipated, experts suggest it will likely originate from policymakers rather than the judiciary.

The case exemplifies the challenges in adapting legal frameworks to the evolving landscape of technology, particularly in addressing the creative output of AI systems with minimal human input.

Image By freepik

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