UK’s DABUS debate chews over sticky inventor issue


Mike Williams

UK’s DABUS debate chews over sticky inventor issue

Credit: UK Supreme Court.

Enlightened arguments from both parties at the UK Supreme Court made for interesting viewing, says Mike Williams of Marks & Clerk.

On March 2 the UK Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of Thaler (Appellant) v Comptroller-General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks (Respondent). The case concerns DABUS (Device for the Autonomous Bootstrapping of Unified Sentience), an AI system that is alleged to have made two inventions that are the subject of UK patent applications GB1816909.4 and GB1818161.0.

Thaler was the owner of DABUS, and its creator, and set up the system to run to produce the inventions in issue. However the inventions are said to have been made without any creative human input, and Thaler, therefore, stated on the relevant form that “the applicant identified no person or persons whom he believes to be an inventor as the invention was entirely and solely conceived by DABUS”.

The applications were refused by the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) formally, by the comptroller, because DABUS is not a person and so could not be considered an inventor under the relevant sections of the UK Patents Act.

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