UK Supreme Court to rule on patent protection for AI creations in coming moths

3D illustration of a folder, focus on a tab with the word infringement. Conceptual image of copyright law

UK Supreme Court hears patent case over AI inventor brought by American computer scientist Stephen Thaler to grant patents in the UK for inventions created by his artificial intelligence (AI) system, DABUS.

Thaler’s lawyer argued that there is no requirement under UK patent law that an invention “must have a human inventor to be patentable”, and that the owner of an AI system is entitled to inventions generated by the system and to the grant of patents for those inventions if patentable.

The case involves two patent applications for two inventions which Thaler says were created by an AI machine he owns called Dabus (an acronym for Device for the Autonomous Bootstrapping of Unified Sentience). The case has already been dismissed by the High Court and the Court of Appeal, which ruled that patents cannot be awarded in cases where the inventor is not a natural person.

Thaler’s attempts at similar applications have also been refused in the EU, the USA, and Australia but a patent was granted in South Africa.

The UK’s Supreme Court is expected to hand down a final judgement in the coming months.