The U.K.’s Intellectual Property Office has ruled that AI systems cannot patent inventions for the time being, following a recent IPO consultation in which AI experts have doubts about AI’s ability to invent without human help.
The IPO also announced plans to change copyright law so that anyone, not just those engaged in non-commercial research, “can promote the use of AI technology, and wider ‘data mining’ techniques for the public good.” Rights holders will continue to be able to control and demand access to their works, but will no longer charge extra for the ability to mine them.
The IPO identified the U.K. as one of the few countries that protects computer-generated works without a human creator. According to the IPO, the “author” of a “computer-generated work” is defined as “the person by whom the arrangements necessary for the creation of the work are undertaken.”
In 2021, the Court of Appeal ruled against Stephen Thaler, who demanded that his Dabus AI system be recognized as the inventor in two parent applications for a food container and a flashing light.
The judges sided, by a two-to-one majority, with the IPO and asked Thaler to provide a real person as inventor.
“Only a person can have rights – a machine cannot. A patent is a statutory right and it can only be granted to a person,” Lady Justice Laing wrote in her judgment.