The UK Supreme Court has recently issued a decision confirming the judgement of the Court of Appeal that an AI machine cannot be an inventor in a patent application as defined in the UK Patents Act 1977, which we wrote about in an earlier blog post.  

The issues the UK Supreme Court was asked to decide on were;

  1. a) Does the Patents Act require a person to be named as the inventor which includes cases where the applicant believes the invention was created by an AI machine in the absence of a human, 
  2. b) Does the patents act provide for the grant of the patent without a named human inventor, and 
  3. c) If the invention is made by an AI machine is the owner of the machine entitled to the grant of the patent for the invention?

The Supreme Court unanimously dismissed the appeal holding that the UK Intellectual Property Office, the High Court and the Court of Appeal were right to find that the applications are deemed withdrawn at the expiry of the 16-month period which is provided to identify the inventors.  

It is interesting to note that the Appeal was not concerned with the broad question of whether an innovation made purely by AI machines are patentable, rather it is limited to the interpretation of the Patents Act and whether or not it is necessary to name a person as an inventor in order for the patent application to progress.