February 25, 2024

Supreme Court in Great Britain rules: AI cannot apply for patent

American entrepreneur Stephen Thaler has again failed in his bid to have his neural network recognized as an innovator. The UK Supreme Court upheld earlier rulings that only people and companies could apply for patents. Thaler's plans also failed in other countries.


Thaler's AI system is called Dabus. The programmer hopes it can apply for a patent. After all, AI creates things and has ideas. However, the British Court of Appeal ruled in the summer that AI systems cannot apply for a patent. Now comes confirmation from the UK Supreme Court.

Thaler also sued in the US. He lost in US patent court. The US Supreme Court refused to even hear the case. Thaler and his team have been campaigning for their project in many countries for years.

Specifically, Thaler wants Tabus to be granted patents for LED food packaging with a fractal surface and a special luminance frequency. The first is basically Tupperware, the second is like a blue light, without sound and optionally yellow, especially as a warning for slow moving cars. This controversy dates back to 2019, long before generative AI was on everyone's lips. Thaler views Tapas as “a conscious and sentient form of machine intelligence”.

Thaler told the BBC he was saddened by the decision because it “confirms the gap between human and machine intelligence”. The British Ministry of Economic Affairs wants to monitor the copyright situation related to artificial intelligence, saying “the British patent system should encourage innovation and the benefits of AI”. Products that involve AI in their development can certainly be patented in the UK, but only by people or companies that have worked with AI.

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However, in South Africa and Australia, the thaler has initially been proven correct in 2021. In South Africa, the Patent Office officially lists Dabus as an inventor. For negotiations to take place someone there must file a case against it. Even in Australia, the Federal Court of Justice has ruled that it is possible in principle to call AI an inventor. But: the actual process of registering a patent for AI failed. So AI can be an inventor, but patent holders must be humans.

The case was also settled in Germany. The Federal Patent Court ruled that AI-generated inventions are not exempt from patenting, but that a human must be registered as an inventor. By definition a machine is the real developer. One of the lawyers writes on LinkedIn. Thaler and his team were In many countries seeks to attribute the patents to Dabus.


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