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UK Court Dismisses Appeal for AI DABUS as Patent Inventor

UK Court Dismisses Appeal for AI DABUS

The United Kingdom’s top court has dismissed an appeal from a computer scientist aiming to establish his AI model, DABUS, as the inventor of two patented products—an innovative food container and a flashing light beacon.

In its ruling, issued on December 20, the court unanimously upheld earlier decisions from both the U.K. Court of Appeal and the U.K. High Court. The judgement concluded that patents must be attributed to a “natural person.” The court highlighted that DABUS, being an AI, does not meet the criteria of a “person,” leading to the dismissal of Dr. Stephen Thaler’s appeal.

Thaler submitted two patent applications in October 2018, which were subsequently declined by the U.K. Intellectual Property Office in August 2019. He then pursued legal action to contest the decision.

The core issue revolved around his omission as an inventor in the applications. Thaler argued that he created DABUS, and subsequently, DABUS independently invented the food container and flashing light.

However, the lower U.K. courts referenced the Patent Act 1977 to refute Thaler’s assertion. They emphasized that rights are only attributable to individuals, not machines. In September 2021, the Court of Appeals reiterated this stance, stating, “A patent is a statutory right and can only be granted to a person.”

Despite the rejections, the U.K. Supreme Court clarified that its current ruling does not establish a precedent for forthcoming cases related to patentability.

The court emphasized that its decision does not introduce an extra condition for patent eligibility, nor does it create a new basis for rejecting patent applications.

Thaler had sought to patent DABUS in multiple countries, including the United States, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. However, he faced rejections in all jurisdictions except South Africa, where DABUS was approved in July 2021.



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