The UK Supreme Court ruled that AI cannot get patents, declaring it cannot be named as an inventor of new products because the law considers only humans or companies to be creators.
The court unanimously denied a petition from Stephen Thaler, founder of the AI system DABUS, to name his AI as an inventor. The UK’s decision aligns with a similar decision made against Thaler in the US: he previously lost an appeal with the US Patent and Trademark Office, which also denied his petition to claim AI as an inventor. The US Supreme Court declined to hear the case.
In the UK, Thaler wanted to register DABUS as the inventor of a food container and a flashing light beacon back in 2019, but the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) rejected the request on the grounds that inventors must be human or a company, reported The Guardian.
Judge David Kitchin said in his judgment that the decision relies solely on the fact that no such law exists that deems a machine a creator.
“We are not concerned here with a new item of tangible property produced by an existing item of tangible property,” Kitchin wrote. “We are concerned with what appear (and which for present purposes we must assume) to be concepts for new and non-obvious devices and methods, and descriptions of ways to put them to into practice, all of which, so Dr. Thaler maintains, have been generated autonomously by DABUS.”
Reuters wrote that representatives of the UK IPO said the Thaler case does present legitimate questions on how to deal with AI-generated material. The US is also grappling with this question as lawmakers consider whether art or any other material created with or by AI systems can be given protection under the law.