Station Road, Sidcup

How can we help?

Please fill in this form and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.

Please enter your name
Please enter your email address
Please enter your telephone number
Please enter a question
Please let us know how you heard about us
Please enter the verification code

We’ll only use this information to handle your enquiry and we won’t share it with any third parties. For more details see our Privacy Policy

Advent of Artificial Intelligence Poses Fundamental Questions in Patents Case

Is the capacity to invent an exclusively human quality? Or has the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) rendered that proposition obsolete? Those fundamental issues took centre stage in a unique High Court patents case.

A pioneer in the field of AI applied for two patents. He specifically did not claim to be the inventor of the developments which were the subject matter of the applications. That role, he asserted, had been performed by what he described as a 'creativity machine' which employed AI to generate novel ideas. He claimed entitlement to register the patents as the machine's owner. The applications were, however, rejected by the Intellectual Property Office.

In ruling on the man's challenge to that outcome, the Court accepted that he held a subjective and honest belief that the machine had independent inventive capabilities. Those who drafted the Patents Act 1977 had not conceived of such a possibility and the Court acknowledged that AI poses fundamental issues which might cause a fracture in the existing statutory regime.

Rejecting the appeal, however, the Court noted that it can only interpret legislation and cannot itself legislate, no matter how great the policy need. The machine was not a natural person and therefore could not be an 'inventor' within the clear meaning of the Act. As a thing, the machine was incapable of owning intellectual property rights and thus could not transfer any such rights to its owner.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.