UK Supreme Court Rules AI Cannot Be Recognized as Inventor in Landmark Decision


  • The UK Supreme Court ruled that AI cannot be inventors in patent applications, upholding lower court decisions.
  • Dr. Stephen Thaler’s AI, Dabus, was denied inventor status, emphasizing that inventors must be people.
  • The decision brings clarity to patent law but leaves questions about AI creativity open for future debate.

The UK Supreme Court has definitively ruled that artificial intelligence (AI) systems cannot be recognized as inventors in patent applications, reinforcing previous judgments issued by lower courts. This decision stems from a case involving Dr. Stephen Thaler and his AI creation, Dabus, which was credited with inventing a food container and a flashing light beacon.

Supreme Court upholds ‘personhood’ requirement for inventors

In a unanimous verdict, the Supreme Court judges upheld the ‘personhood’ requirement for inventors, firmly stating that “an inventor must be a person.” This pivotal ruling effectively excludes AI entities from obtaining patent rights in the United Kingdom. While the judgment does not directly address whether Dabus legitimately invented the items in question, it does establish a clear precedent for AI’s role in the patent process.

Dr. Thaler, who considers Dabus a “conscious and sentient form of machine intelligence,” expressed disappointment at the outcome. The decision highlights the ongoing debate surrounding the boundaries between human and machine intelligence in intellectual property.

Background and legal battles

The case began when Dr. Stephen Thaler filed patent applications 2019 for a food container and a flashing light beacon, with Dabus credited as the inventor. However, the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) rejected the applications, asserting that only human beings could be recognized as inventors. The High Court and the Court of Appeal subsequently supported this position.

Dr. Thaler, backed by AI and machine creativity supporters, pursued the matter to the highest legal authority in the UK, the Supreme Court. The case has garnered significant attention due to its potential implications for the evolving landscape of intellectual property rights in the era of AI.

The Supreme Court’s ruling

The Supreme Court’s decision reaffirms the long-standing principle that inventions must be attributed to individuals or ‘persons.’ The judges ruled that the law does not provide scope for AI systems to be considered inventors, as they lack the legal capacity and status of a human inventor. This judgment clarifies the legal framework surrounding patent rights in the UK.

While the ruling effectively quashes the notion of AI inventors, it does not address whether Dabus genuinely exhibited inventive creativity in developing the food container and flashing light beacon concepts. The Court’s focus remained firmly on inventorship, leaving the possibility of continued debate on AI’s creative capabilities.

Dr. Thaler, the proponent of recognizing AI as inventors, argued that Dabus’s innovative abilities extended beyond mere computational processes. He viewed Dabus as a form of “conscious and sentient machine intelligence” capable of creative problem-solving. However, the Supreme Court’s ruling reinforces the principle that AI lacks the legal standing of a person and, consequently, cannot be attributed to inventorship.

IPO welcomes clarity, acknowledges ongoing review

The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) welcomed the Supreme Court’s judgment, as it provides essential clarity on inventorship in patent applications. However, the IPO also acknowledged the rapidly evolving nature of technology and the need to continually review the legal framework surrounding AI and patents.

The decision sets a precedent in the UK and aligns with international practices, where inventors are recognized as human beings. It sends a clear signal that, despite AI and machine learning advancements, patent law continues to uphold traditional principles of personhood in inventorship.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.


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Brenda Kanana

Brenda Kanana is an accomplished and passionate writer specializing in the fascinating world of cryptocurrencies, Blockchain, NFT, and Artificial Intelligence (AI). With a profound understanding of blockchain technology and its implications, she is dedicated to demystifying complex concepts and delivering valuable insights to readers.

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