A US computer scientist lost his bid on Wednesday to register patents over inventions created by his artificial intelligence system in a landmark case in Britain about whether AI can own patent rights.
Stephen Thaler wanted to be granted two patents in the UK for inventions he says were devised by his “creativity machine” called DABUS. His attempt to register the patents was refused by the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) on the grounds that the inventor must be a human or a company, rather than a machine.
Thaler approached the UK’s Supreme Court, which rejected his appeal as under UK patent law “an inventor must be a natural person”.
Judge David Kitchin said in the court’s written ruling that the case was “not concerned with the broader question whether technical advances generated by machines acting autonomously and powered by AI should be patentable”.
Thaler’s lawyers said the ruling “establishes that UK patent law is currently wholly unsuitable for protecting inventions generated autonomously by AI machines and as a consequence wholly inadequate in supporting any industry that relies on AI in the development of new technologies”.